A year ago, Isaiah Barnes was a lightly-recruited sophomore wing from the Chicago suburbs, with his only high-major offer coming from in-state Illinois.
On Wednesday, he became Juwan Howard’s first 2021 commitment. Barnes’ decision came amid heavy — and sudden — high-major interest, including offers from Kansas, Maryland and Wisconsin.
It’s a remarkable rise in a spring and summer that have lacked the traditional showcases that typically help a recruit suddenly burst onto the scene. But Barnes — a four-star small forward who ranks 106th nationally, per 247 Sports composite rankings — was able to turn heads before the coronavirus pandemic hit, averaging 18 points per game at Oak Park-River Forest ahead of his upcoming transfer to Simeon.
More on Isaiah Barnes:
- Four-star wing Isaiah Barnes commits to Michigan
- Five thoughts on Juwan Howard’s first 2021 pledge and what’s next
According to Matt Mullins, Barnes’ AAU coach with Illinois Wolves, much of that growth came down to the five inches and 40-to-50 pounds that he estimates Barnes has added over the past three years.