Chris Barnes, a four-star forward from Riverdale (Ga.) High School, watched a lot of basketball when the season started because he was academically ineligible. Now that he has made the grade, he is playing with more of a purpose.
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound junior said he learned a little something from his days as a spectator.
"I realized that the most important thing for me is my education," Barnes said. "That has to come first. In order for me to be successful, I need to be a good student."
Now an A and B student, Barnes is ready for the road ahead this spring and summer.
"This AAU season is real important for me," he admitted. "I want to play basketball in college so getting out there and playing in the 17 and under circuit is going to give me exposure."
Exposure is something Barnes has lacked up to this point on a national level but the high-majors have certainly found him.
Barnes said Memphis has offered a scholarship contingent on his grades staying above par. Barnes added that Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee have kept in contact this year with letters.
He said Memphis, South Carolina and Tennessee have watched him in a game or practice at Riverdale this season.
"I'm probably in the middle of my recruitment," Barnes said. "I want to look at some schools on some visits and then take a better look at their graduation rates and how they can help me in the long run."
Barnes had a solid outing over the weekend at the Southern Shootout in Atlanta. He helped lead his team to the 17U championship game before losing to a talented Worldwide Renegades team.