UTEP Coach Tim Floyd announced on Thursday that Chris Barnes has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Miners. Barnes is a 6-3, 180-pound shooting guard who played last season at Compton (Calif.) High School. His NLI has been received and validated by UTEP Athletics compliance officials.
“We have lost some perimeter players and we are hopeful that Chris will be able to help our basketball team,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “We feel like he’s a good athlete. Any time you have a guy with great athleticism who plays hard, you know he’s going to get better. It remains to be seen how much he’ll play next season. It will depend on his learning curve and adjustment period, but we don’t sign guys unless we think they can help us. He comes from a good program at Compton High School and has a nice reputation in southern California. We look forward to welcoming him to our program.”
Barnes averaged 12 points, five rebounds and five assists last season. He garnered first team All-League recognition in leading Compton to a 19-11 record. He comes from the same high school that produced two-time NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who was also signed by coach Floyd at USC.
“Chris is an exceptional athlete whose best years are ahead of him,” said Compton High School coach Tony Thomas. “UTEP has gotten a sleeper and a steal.”
Barnes was named the SoCal Prep Legends Athlete of the Week in mid-January after scoring 13 of his 17 points in the second half of a come-from-behind victory over Long Beach Millikan High School. He played at Millikan as a junior, averaging 20 points for a 20-9 team and earning first team All-State and All-League honors. He was a member of a state title squad at Bishop Montgomery High School (Torrance, Calif.) as a sophomore in 2014.
His AAU team was the Compton Magic.