After averaging a double-double and earning all-district honors as a prep senior, Cornell Barnett
took his first official visit last week to learn more about Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns.
Barnett, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds this past season at McDonogh 35 High School in New Orleans, spoke with Cajun Redzone about his visit on Monday night.
"The visit was amazing," Barnett said. "They treated me good. I feel like I fit in really well with their program. Coach (Bob) Marlin and coach (Kevin) Johnson seemed really loyal. I got to hang out with the players and watch them work out."
While on his visit in Lafayette, Barnett said the Cajun coaches told him he'd be a great fit for a program still seeking a high school forward for its 2012 signing class. The NCAA's spring signing period ends May 16.
"I went out to eat with coach Marlin and coach Johnson and we talked about the part I'd play if I signed with UL," Barnett said. "If I did attend UL, my parents could see me play, and that's one of the reasons why I like the school so much. It's away from home but not that far away from home."
A teammate of then-senior all-state forward Jernard Jarreau
– who was recruited by the Cajuns before signing with Washington
– as a junior, Barnett averaged double figures in points and rebounds and made the All-District 9-4A first team this past season.
His contributions, along with those of all-state guard Kristoff Walker, helped the Roneagles (24-7) win the District 9-4A championship and advance to the second round of the LHSAA Class 4A playoffs.
By no surprise, Barnett would be expected to defend and rebound at the next level. His self-proclaimed 7-foot-2 wingspan makes his job in the post that much easier even while going against taller or bulkier opponents.
Eric Weary Sr., who has coached Barnett in AAU competition, said the forward "has a lot of room for growth and is going to get a lot better." Barnett added that his experience as a football player made him more mentally and physically tough on the court.
"They need a lock-down defender, a shot-blocker and a rebounder and a well-rounded 4 man," he said of the Cajuns. "Their style of play fits me because the 4 man has the ball a lot and can dribble and have some freedom. I can shoot it from mid range and long range, and guys don't want to come to the goal against me because of my wingspan."
Oral Roberts, St. Bonaventure
, Wright State, Fordham
, Niagara, Missouri State, Drake
, Southern, Tulane
, Louisiana Tech
, UALR, East Tennessee
State, Loyola and Arkansas-Pine Bluff have also recruited Barnett.
Barnett, who would be only the second member of his family to attend college, plans to visit Oral Roberts on Thursday and Friday. There's a chance he could pick between the Golden Eagles and Cajuns after his trip to Oklahoma.
"Hopefully, I won't have to take any visits after that," Barnett said. "I'm going to visit Oral Roberts and then probably make my decision. I'm leaning toward UL right now, but I just want to see what Oral Roberts has to offer and be completely sure because this is a pretty big decision for me."
As to why he waited until the spring to make his official visits, Barnett said he first wanted to focus on his academics while playing football in the fall. Barnett added he has already achieved the NCAA's mandated academic requirements to be qualifier as a college freshman.
Barnett shared some of the factors that will come into play when it is time to pick his college destination.
"I'm looking for a family oriented school, a school that cares about their players," said Barnett, who was scheduled to compete in last weekend's H-Town Classic in Spring, Texas, but was unable to play in the event. "I want to see the coaches every day and be around coaches who are mentors."
Clifford Baptiste, who owns and operates Gulf Coast Recruiting, said Barnett is "a good kid and a bright kid from a good family with a good demeanor. Whoever lands him will get a good player."
A recent visitor for Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns is inching closer to picking his college destination. Cajun Redzone has the latest update with this sleeper recruit.
A recent visitor for Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns is inching closer to picking his college