Busting Brackets

5-Star Point Guard Anthony Barber Commits to NC State, Ends Strange Recruitment


The days of NC State playing second, make that third, fiddle in the Triangle are nearing an end.

In just his second year on the job, Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried has begun stockpiling talent typically reserved for North Carolina and Duke. His recruiting coup this weekend was further confirmation.

Gottfried scored an unexpected commitment from 5-star point guard Anthony Barber on Saturday, adding a centerpiece to his 2013 recruiting cupboard which had previously been bare. Barber, the No. 11 player in the 2013 class, committed to State during an official visit to the Raleigh campus.

A native of Hampton, VA—where Allen Iverson made a name for himself, in more ways than one—Barber settled on the Wolfpack as his list of potential suitors began to dwindle.

Barber’s academic struggles and off-the-court troubles chased off droves of big-name schools, allowing NC State to jump into the fray fairly late in the recruitment. Only Alabama, Louisville, Kansas and Florida State had extended offers to Barber that remained on the table by the time Gottfried and his staff got involved. And of those four, only Alabama continued to pursue Barber with much vigor.

One source tells Busting Brackets that Louisville, once thought to be a frontrunner in this recruitment, backed off of Barber after his visit to the campus last weekend. Cardinals players, according to the source, suspected Barber of stealing some of their belongings during the trip. The players reported their suspicions to the coaching staff, which then summarily backed out of the recruitment. Louisville has since shifted its sights on Florida JuCo point guard Chris Jones, who is on the Louisville campus this weekend.

Kansas, another source notes, became leery of Louisville’s findings. The Jayhawks welcomed Barber on an official visit at the beginning of the month, but their interest waned upon learning of Barber’s off-the-court baggage. Barber called his visit to Kansas a “perfect ten,” praise that immediately bumped the Jayhawks as the favorite to land the point guard prize. But Kansas, wary like Louisville, backed off and allowed Gottfried to scoop up the talent.

The Research Triangle never seemed like a viable landing spot for Barber, who grew up a Duke fan but never netted an offer from Coach K. NC State had been off Barber’s radar earlier in the summer when the embattled point guard was sorting between three schools, State not among them. Now a Wolfpack commit just a few months later, Barber will get to play against the school he grew up rooting for but that never reciprocated his interest. He’ll also get to square off with North Carolina pledge Nate Britt, a friend of Barber’s and fellow 2013 point guard.

Barber has a silky-smooth handle and is one of the quickest players, if not the quickest, in the class. Nicknamed “Cat” for his cat-like reflexes and quickness, the 6-foot-1 point guard is a blur in transition and a daunting one-on-one assignment in the half court. In light of recent developments on Louisville’s campus and the ripple effect they have caused late in his recruitment, “Cat” Barber, or “Cat Burglar” Barber, as I’ve read already, will have a lot to prove in terms of character and maturation.

NC State already has one super-talented recruit facing an NCAA investigation because of an off-court-related matter. The last thing the Wolfpack needs—as it looks to gun down Duke and Carolina—is another one.