On Sunday afternoon, four-star small forward Marlon Barnes made the decision to commit to Jeff Capel’s Pitt Panthers.
“I just felt like Coach Capel, both Jason and Jeff, they’ve been on me since day one,” Barnes told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “They make me feel like if I come there, it will feel like I am home. I believe in what they’ve got going on, and also, my parents do as well.”
Barnes, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound wing, made up his mind earlier this week, choosing the Panthers over Miami, Rutgers, Cleveland State, and others.
— marlonbarnesjr (@marlonbarnesjr) January 9, 2022
“After practice Wednesday or Thursday, I made the decision,” he continued. “I just didn’t put it out there yet. I called Coach Capel and talked to him then.”
Barnes, who plays for Brush High School in Cleveland, Ohio, has visited Pitt multiple times over the past few years. During his freshman season at Brush years back, he played alongside current Pitt big man John Hugley, who he is excited to share the court with again.
“I am really excited,” he added. “I only played with him one year in high school. I’ve still got one more year of high school, but, I am definitely real excited to come and play with my guy.”
As for his skill set, Barnes has all the physical tools to exceed at the ACC level. Standing at 6-foot-6, 180-plus pounds, his coach says he is built like an NBA shooting guard. He has a very strong frame, and prides himself on his shooting ability above all.
“Definitely shooting,” he said when asked what his best skill was. “I see they are struggling right now shooting it from outside. I know losing a guard that can shoot it [Nike Sibande] and spread the floor a lot, that hurt. But now, he’s coming back. But definitely shooting. And defensively, with my long wing span, I can help on that side too. I can really spread the floor.”
Barnes is ranked as the No. 136 recruit in the nation according to 247 Sports’ Composite Ranking. With the commitment, Capel now kicks off his 2023 class, looking ahead to a brighter future for the Panthers. For Barnes, he has his eyes set on one thing while at Pitt: winning.
“Definitely win,” he said. “Build a great program, keep building that great program, win, and ultimately try to win a national title.”
While Pitt currently has no commitments in the 2022 class, is there a chance that Barnes reclassifies?
“No,” he said. “I am still 2023.”