UH lassoed latest recruit
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Stan Sheriff Center apparently has more appeal than a dusty rodeo arena for Bo Barnes.
As a result, Barnes will be shooting 3-pointers for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team next season instead of roping steer.
Barnes, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Scottsdale, Ariz., signed a national letter of intent on Wednesday to play for the Rainbow Warriors next season.
"I've been to Hawai'i before with my family and I love it every time I go out there," Barnes said. "Getting a chance to play basketball over there was something I really liked."
It will certainly be a change of scenery.
Barnes grew up on a 5-acre ranch in a rodeo environment. His father, Jake, is a former rodeo world champion in team roping.
Barnes honed his skills on a "cowboy hoop" — a regulation rim set up in the middle of a dirt path on the family's ranch.
"It didn't matter to me," he said. "I was out there every day, putting up shots."
Hawai'i head coach Gib Arnold describes Barnes as "a shooting specialist." He averaged 17.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game last season at Westwind Prep International in Phoenix.
"I really like Coach Arnold and what he has in mind for the team," Barnes said. "Being able to come in right away and get a chance to contribute was a big thing."
Then-Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash and assistant Eran Ganot started recruiting Barnes more than a year ago. Arnold also started recruiting Barnes last year, when he was still an assistant at USC.
Ganot, who is still under contract with UH, helped Arnold with the recent recruiting of Barnes.
"That helped," Barnes said. "I've known Coach Ganot for quite a while, and once Coach Arnold got the job, it made it that much easier just to talk to both of them."
Ganot said: "He's always been known for long-range accuracy and toughness, but it has been great to follow his development over the past year. His love for the game and desire to get better will continue to pay off."
Barnes will be a freshman at Hawai'i next season, and will have four seasons of eligibility.
Several programs were recruiting Barnes, including Iowa State, Creighton, Virginia and Boston College.
That Barnes chose Hawai'i over those programs is not as surprising as his choice to play basketball over rodeo.
Barnes probably could be making a lot of money right now had he followed his father's path.
"Bo actually roped when he was younger and did really well," said his mother, Toni. "We would go to these little jackpots and he would beat a lot of the older guys and win. It was just natural for him to do that because of his father. But at some point, basketball just took over and he put everything into that."
The Barnes family has traveled to Hawai'i several times, mostly for rodeo reasons. Jake Barnes conducted roping schools on O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i several years ago.
"We just love Hawai'i; we love the culture, the people," Toni Barnes said. "And once we met Coach Arnold and saw how he has everybody over there pumped up for basketball, it became even more appealing."
FLEMINGS TAKES TOP AWARD AT BANQUET
Senior forward Roderick Flemings won the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award at the UH men's basketball awards banquet last night at the Hale Koa Hotel.
Flemings led the team in scoring with 16.6 points per game, and ranked second in rebounds with 6.2 per game.
In a game against Cal Poly in February, Flemings scored 39 points, which was the most scored by a Hawai'i player in the history of the Sheriff Center.
He finished his two-year career at Hawai'i with 964 points, which ranks 17th on the program's all-time scoring list.
Flemings also won the Most Outstanding Player award last year. Only six other former 'Bows have won the award in back-to-back years: Tom Henderson, Tony Wells, Reggie Cross, Anthony Carter, Predrag Savovic and Julian Sensley.
Junior point guard Hiram Thompson won four awards: Best Playmaker, Captain Award, Best Free Throw Shooter and Ah Chew Goo Most Inspirational Award.
Thompson, Brandon Adams and Adhar Mayen shared the Most Inspirational Award.
Paul Campbell won Best Defensive Player, Petras Balocka won Best Rebounder, and Ji Xiang won the Academic Award.