With Isaiah Barnes commitment, Juwan Howard goes back to his Chicago roots

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:

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.

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