Ki Barnes is taking the junior college route.
Carlisle’s 6-foot-5 wing signed his letter of intent to play at Lackawanna College, he told The Sentinel late Thursday night. A post on Twitter by Falcons coach Brian Coyle on Thursday afternoon made the news public.
“It’s definitely exciting, now I don’t have to worry about where I’m going,” Barnes said.
He said he looked at Northampton Community College and Hagerstown College, among others. He thought about going the prep route, but decided juco was a better fit.
Lackawanna’s recruiting really picked up in the past two months, Barnes said, and he felt comfortable during his visit with the coaches and players.
“It was just like a nice visit, and I could just tell the coaching staff was a good fit,” he said.
“Mainly, I plan on getting up there and put on some weight. ... I’m hoping to just become a better basketball player.”
Herd coach Andre Anderson said he’s felt this was an ideal match since before the season.
“I think it’s a perfect fit for him,” Anderson said via text. “Coach Coyle has been recruiting him for a while now. ... He’ll have an opportunity to not only take care of business in the classroom, but also establish a role for the team and contribute early on. I’m excited to see how his future progresses.”
Barnes, along with cousin Gavyn Barnes and fellow senior Joe Mastrangelo, played significant minutes in the Thundering Herd’s run to the PIAA Class 6A semifinals last year. He was a part of two teams to make at least the state quarterfinals, one of the few in school history who can say he made it that far twice.
Long and capable of playing multiple positions, Barnes is averaging 12.8 points per game with 32 made 3-pointers in his first full season as a starter. He’s been had several lackluster games this year, but has also put down multiple games with 25-plus points.
Barnes oozes with potential, is capable of getting to the rim and also shoots with range, but has disappeared at times. He perhaps had among the highest ceilings of all his teammates the past few years.
He helped lead the Herd (12-10) to their sixth straight District 3 playoff appearance this year, this time as the No. 10 seed. They’ll face No. 7 Wilson in Tuesday’s first round.
Lackawanna, in Scranton, is currently 20-4. The Falcons are 12-1 in the Region XIX Division and has locked up the first seed in the upcoming region playoffs.
It’s Coyle’s second season in charge. The Misericordia grad spent three seasons as an assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Bishop McDevitt before serving in various assistant roles in the college ranks for a time.
He had success in his first year with the Falcons, leading them to a 19-12 record and helping four sophomores commit to D-II programs.
“It’s definitely impressive,” Barnes said of Coyle’s early track record guiding players to four-year schools. “I met a couple guys and they talked about their visits and everything. .... I took notice of it.”
Barnes said he plans to major in business to one day become an entrepreneur.