Barnes to play bas­ket­ball at Mount St. Mary’s

Great Mills grad­u­ate signs to play Divi­sion I hoops at Mount St. Mary’s

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By COLIN STOECKER cstoecker@somd­news.com

One Great Mills High School bas­ket­ball player was granted the chance of a life­time to play NCAA Divi­sion I bas­ket­ball.

Dee Barnes is headed to Mount Saint Mary’s Univer­sity, which is un­der newly ap­pointed head men’s bas­ket­ball coach Dan En­gel­stad.

Barnes, who played his first three years of high school bas­ket­ball at King’s Chris­tian Acad­emy in Call­away be­fore mov­ing on to Great Mills for his se­nior sea­son, signed with Mount St. Mary’s in June, and will be join­ing a squad that went 18-14 over­all last sea­son.

“Mount St. Mary’s was a last minute school, and I de­cided to com­mit right away. I feel like this is the best choice me. I think it’s gonna go good. I think the team has a lot of po­ten­tial,” Barnes said

Barnes and the Hor­nets were 19-4 over­all and were un­de­feat- ed in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion a sea­son ago un­der head coach Jeff Bur­rell. Bur­rell, the coach at Great Mills for the past two sea­sons, has known Barnes since the fifth grade through coach­ing him in the AAU league. To­gether, Bur­rell and Barnes saw the Hor­nets host a first-ever re­gional cham­pi­onship game.

“For Barnes to be able to go Divi­sion I, which was his goal, for him and his fam­ily to be able to ex­pe­ri­ence that and to get ac­cepted and get a full ride, that is amaz­ing,” Bur­rell said. “He has the po­ten­tial, go­ing up to college, get­ting his de­gree, he will have a post-college ca­reer. But the in­flu­ence he left be­hind is far more im­por­tant. Peo­ple will rec­og­nize that we are work­ing hard here.”

Barnes, a 6-foot-4 shoot­ing guard, re­ceived the SMAC’s Most Out­stand­ing Player honor, was the All-County Athlete of the Year and was picked to the all-state third team in his se­nior sea­son. He av­er­aged 21 points, 5.1 re­bounds and 3.5 as­sists per game.

“We did good, we fin­ished out num­ber one in SMAC and it was a good time and the first time the school hosted the re­gional fi­nal,” Barnes said.

Ac­cord­ing to Bur­rell, Great Mills hasn’t re­ceived a whole lot of good pub­lic­ity since the shoot­ing at the school this spring, so it makes Barnes’ suc­cess all the more cru­cial to show­ing the pos­i­tive ef­fect the school com­mu­nity and ath­letic pro­grams have on students.

“When you look back on the tragedy and the shoot­ing we had, we want to show peo­ple that we can take a chance on the young folks down here. The coaches have been work­ing ex­tremely hard to show them, too,” Bur­rell said.

He would like to thank his un­cle “Tubby” Smith, the long-

time college head men’s bas­ket­ball coach who is now the front­man at High Point Univer­sity in North Carolina, and his mother Kim­berly Den­nis.

“Just my fam­ily,” Barnes said.

Bur­rell at­tributes Barnes’ ac­com­plish­ment to him for his hard work.

“He’s an ex­am­ple of what a strong fam­ily and strong com­mu­nity can bless,” Bur­rell said. “But he does the work him­self and pushes him­self and has been helped by a lot of good coaches. He’s a kid that is chas­ing his dream and that fam­ily is supporting him.”

Barnes is ex­cited about the con­tri­bu­tion he can make play­ing for the Mount. Cur­rently, he is train­ing at the univer­sity over the sum­mer for the upcoming sea­son this fall. He is do­ing weight train­ing and con­di­tion­ing, team work­outs and prac­tices.

“I think En­gel­stad knows what he’s do­ing and he re­ally knows the game. I’m look­ing to be­come a bet­ter player,” Barnes said.

En­gel­stad came from coach­ing bas­ket­ball at the College of South­ern Ver­mont, and re­cently ac­cepted the job as the head coach at Mount St. Mary’s. Bur­rell and En­gel­stad are both grad­u­ates of St. Mary’s College of Mary­land where they used to play bas­ket­ball to­gether. En­gel­stad is ex­cited to have Barnes and a few other re­cruits join­ing his pro­gram this year.

“Dee Barnes is a very tal­ented young man. He’s some­body that won’t back down from any­body. He’s a great athlete, plays above the rim, but also can score it. We’re just thrilled that were get­ting a player that has the ver­sa­til­ity of Dee here,” said En­gel­stad in a Mount re­cruit­ing video.

Barnes looks up to James Har­den, the shoot­ing guard for the Hous­ton Rock­ets.

“Just cause he knows how to use his body and his length to his ad­van­tage. I want to be a bet­ter scorer,” Barnes said.

“I can’t wait to see wait to see what he be­comes,” Bur­rell said.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Great Mills High School grad­u­ate Dee Barnes signed in June to play NCAA Divi­sion I bas­ket­ball at Mount St. Mary’s Univer­sity. He is cur­rently at the univer­sity for sum­mer train­ing and will play for the Mount’s new coach, Dan En­gel­stad.

FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Great Mills grad­u­ate Dee Barnes, pic­tured at right ver­sus Chop­ti­con this past sea­son, re­cently signed to play NCAA Divi­sion I bas­ket­ball at Mount St. Mary’s Univer­sity.

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