Jackson Academy’s Michael Barber is one of the Class of 2018’s top remaining uncommitted prospects. After an invite to Team USA’s U17 training camp over the summer, he’s looking to take his game to the next level and many schools are taking notice.
He says the competition at the training camp has helped to elevate his game. When asked about what he took from the experience, the 2018 small forward said, “All the guys up there were really good, so it was harder to score, but Coach (Don) Showalter helped me to get better defensively and taught me how to read plays better.” Barber specifically named guys such as Sacramento King’s point guard, De’Aaron Fox, and University of Kentucky forward, Jarred Vanderbilt, as guys who pushed him to become better while there.
Despite being invited to the national team’s training camp, Barber still feels he is flying under the radar. “I still feel like I’m underrated, but even if I was the number one player in the country I’d feel like that. I just try to play with a chip on my shoulder.”
As far as his final high school season goes, the 6’7″ forward has helped lead Jackson Academy (MS) to a 3-1 start, with their only loss coming to defending 5A state champions Laurel High School. He’s played a major part in that success as he’s started the season averaging just under 24 points per game. He also had an eye-popping stat line after a win against Adams County Christian where he scored 30 points and grabbed 29 rebounds.
Following the performance against Adams County Christian, Barber received a scholarship offer from Howard University, but they join a long line of other schools pursuing him as well. He claims offers from Ole Miss, Baylor, and Northwestern State, as well as interest from Stephen F. Austin, Richmond, Wichita State, and Mississippi State.
Despite not having an offer at this time, Barber listed Stephen F. Austin as one of his favorites, but assured he was still open with his recruitment. Former teammate and now Baylor point guard, Mario Kegler, has helped in Baylor’s recruitment of Barber as well. He says, “Mario is one of my old teammates. He’s like a big brother to me, so I like them too.”
With no timetable set for a commitment, Barber says he’s waiting for what feels like the “right time.” He’s taken unofficial visits to Ole Miss, Tulane, and Southern Miss, along with an official visit to Northwestern State. “I’m still pretty open right now. If somethinng pops up and I feel like it’s the right time then I might make a commitment, but for now I’m still open,” said Barber on the status of his recruitment.
As for now, Michael Barber is focusing on the high school season ahead of him, but look for the recruiting trail to heat up as the season dwindles down. Other schools may jump in the picture just as Howard did this week, but one thing is for sure; whoever lands the 2018 forward will be adding one of the best available prospects in the class.