has been a place of refuge for quality high school basketball players looking to revamp their academic portfolios and make themselves eligible for major Division I programs. The Bears have had great success in doing this under coach Drew Kelly.
Harcum will greet another stellar player this fall, but this player comes a little closer to home than some at Harcum: 6-foot-8 standout wingman Darian Barnes of Penn Wood. Barnes was a two-year starter for the Patriots, 2009 PIAA Class AAAA state champions and perennial state contenders.
“It’s a step in the right direction for Darian,” Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones said. “He’s going to Harcum, which is good, because it’s close to home. Harcum is getting a kid who’s just scraping the surface of his potential. Darian is the kind of player who can dominate both ends of the floor, and he’s just getting to the point where he can step away from the basket and he can shoot the ball well. He’s someone who’s St. Joe’s or a Temple-quality type of player. He has had a number of close offers until they got into his school work.”
That has been the issue with Barnes. A decent student his junior and senior years at Penn Wood, Barnes’ academic difficulties stem from subpar freshman and sophomore years. Barnes probably could have gotten on the court sooner for Penn Wood, if he was academically eligible to play. Instead, his freshman and sophomore seasons were spent watching most of the time.
“Darian is a smart kid, when he applies himself,” Jones said. “That’s where the frustration comes in--had he spent a little more time and preparation at everything, he’s a big-time Division I recruit. I firmly believe that. Harcum is a nice second chance for him. It gives Darian an opportunity to mature and still keep his dream alive of playing high-level basketball.
“I’m happy he’s getting this chance because he tried to provide Darian with an avenue to excel academically. He had a chance to replace some classes and he didn’t follow through with what was out there. We went to bat for Darian in more ways than one. I wish him the best, I love the kid; he’s a great kid. He has the chance to be a star on the court. With some focus, he’s been a much better student the last two years, and hopefully, he’ll continue that at Harcum. His dream of playing high-level basketball is there and he’s close, he’s close. Darian was our most sought-after recruit.”
Barnes joins a highly successful junior college program that went 22-7 overall last year. Barnes, for one, feels good about the move:
"I'm happy I'm getting this second chance, I think I can do real well at Harcum," he said.