In just two full recruiting cyles, Mark Gottfried has compiled a roster that may possess the talent to win a national championship. N.C. State scored a commitment this weekend that may be Gottfried’s best yet: Hampton (Va.) High point guard Anthony Barber.
A 6-1 floor general who competed on the travel circuit for famed coach Boo Williams, Barber committed to the Wolfpack during his official visit. He had narrowed his finalists to NCSU, Kansas, Alabama and Louisville, although the Cardinals and Barber parted ways after his official trip there.
The bottom line for the Pack is that they now possess a commitment from arguably the nation’s second-best senior point guard. Along with Florida-bound Kasey Hill, Barber resides just one rung lower on the ladder than Andrew Harrison (a key Maryland target). Within the ACC, the No. 11 overall senior is the most decorated prospect headed to a conference program. (UNC-bound Isaiah Hicks is No. 13.)
Barber is extraordinarily quick and fast and is an agile finisher at the rim. He boasts a superb first step and can blow past nearly any defender off the dribble. He’s also a talented passer who dishes clevery to teammates, either on drive-and-dish or drive-and-kick. He isn’t a great three-point shooter because his jump shot flattens out from deep, but he’s plenty capable from medium-range and certainly gets ample room because the opposition must respect his penetration.
He’s also a factor on defense. He uses his quickness and instincts to get under opponents’ dribbles and also jumps passing lanes.
In addition to a subpar three-point shot, the knock on Barber — and given that he mostly ranks in the national top 12, it’s a muted criticism — is that he lacks true quarterbacking skills. He definitely does force passes and suffers from occasional turnover binges, and he tends to play best when he’s a primary scorer.
In today’s game, however, a point guard frequently helps his team by adopting a scoring mindset. So, no, he’s not Chris Corchiani, but he’s at least a competent playmaker and clearly a big-time scorer who applies constant pressure on the defense. The Pack played at a faster tempo last season than most major-conference squads, and Barber certainly will enable them to continue in that style.
<Here’s a video interview I did about Barber a couple weeks ago, which includes highlights of ultra-quick point guard in action.