COLUMBIA — Despite taking three big men in its incoming recruiting class, it appears Missouri coach Frank Haith will be adding another post player to the mix in the fall.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Hayden Barnard, a 6-foot-9 center from Aurora, Ill., has decided to enroll at Missouri as a preferred walk-on, according to Metea Valley High School coach Bob Vozza.
Vozza said Barnard, who had a scholarship offer from Western Illinois, averaged 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and led the team with 61 blocks after becoming Metea Valley’s starting center his senior year. You can find his highlight video here.
“He’s a late bloomer,” Vozza said. “He didn’t play much his junior year but came on for us his senior year and started to play well at the end of the year. I think his best basketball is ahead of him…he’s still maturing physically.”
Vozza said Barnard, whose parents and grandfather reportedly attended Mizzou, was about 6 feet tall as a sophomore but has grown several inches since then and now weighs 190 pounds.
Vozza said Barnard also has a “decent” jumper at 15 feet, though his outside game still needs improvement if he wants to be a perimeter threat.
“His first few years, he was catching up with his body and the awkwardness,” Vozza said. “He’s not a traditional back-to-the-basket guy yet, but he runs the floor really well.”
Metea Valley went 19-10 this season and lost to Waubonsie Valley 51-48 in the regional semifinals of the Illinois Class 4A tournament (the state’s biggest class).
Vozza said Barnard provided a glimpse of his potential in that game, as he finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds and made the game-tying shot to force overtime in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
“He felt his high school career ending, so he took the initiative and started being more aggressive on the offensive end,” Vozza said.
Barnard joins a frontcourt that will include returners like senior Tony Criswell, sophomore Stefan Jankovic, sophomore Ryan Rosburg and junior walk-on Danny Feldmann. Three scholarship recruits will enter the fold as well, as junior college center Keanau Post, four-star forward Johnathan Williams III and three-star forward Torren Jones will join the team in the fall.
Haith still has one scholarship at his disposal, should he choose to award it.
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