Posted On: 04/23/18 5:00 AM
Andy Barba (2020), a 6’6” guard/wing from Benedictine, enters his second season with Ohio Basketball Club on the adidas Gauntlet Gold with five D-I offers and a new role on the team.
After just one weekend in Indianapolis, it’s clear that Barba will be asked to defend the basket as OBC’s tallest 16U player.
“I need to get a lot more rebounds because I’m the tallest kid on the team this year. And I need to guard bigger players. Last year I was guarding guards. This weekend, I guarded mostly guys over 6’9”,” Barba explained.
Although he’s more accustomed to matching up with perimeter players, Barba is seeing the newfound role as an opportunity to improve his physicality.
“Something that a lot of coaches told me, and other coaches, is that my biggest weakness in AAU last year was rebounding and being physical down-low. So this weekend, I really made sure that I was more physical, boxing out and got more rebounds,” Barba said.
Offensively, OBC is still relying on Barba’s shooting to spread the floor, one of his primary strengths as a player.
“I would say [my] number one [strength] is passing and spreading the floor. When we play teams, they know that I’m a shooter, so I spread the floor and make the extra pass,” Barba said.
This summer will also help improve his versatility as a defender, but he’s already very solid in that area. He combines instincts, effort, length, and athleticism on that end of the floor.
“Defense is something that’s underrated about me. I kind of make a point to be good at defense … I could guard one through five because this year in school basketball, I guarded team’s point guards and also their big men,” Barba explained.
Barba is looking to expand his game on offense also. He’d like to become more consistent in getting past his initial defender, along with improving his ball-handling against pressure.
Meanwhile, the junior-to-be is being recruited by a ton of Division I programs.
Barba was offered by Miami (OH), Duquesne, Tennessee State, Columbia, and Youngstown State last summer alone. Along with that group of five, Barba has also visited Ohio State, Penn State, and Pittsburgh. Xavier and Davidson are also showing interest.
He communicates most often with Miami and Duquesne at the moment.
“The ones I talk to most frequently are definitely Miami (Ohio) — I talk to coach [Jack] Owens at least once a week — and then I talk to coach [Keith] Dambrot from Duquesne very often,” Barba said.
The other three to have offered aren’t talking to him as routinely right now. But all are still in the picture besides Tennessee State, who has hired a new coaching staff since he was offered last summer.
“Columbia and Youngstown State, I just haven’t talked to them much,” Barba said.
He’s been on visits to all four of those schools, including three trips to Miami and two to Duquesne. Otherwise, he took visits to Ohio State, Penn State, and Pitt. OSU has remained in contact with the in-state product.
“I’ve had a good amount of phone call conversations with coach [Ryan] Pedon from Ohio State. And Ohio State and Penn State have been in for work outs and stuff at school,” Barba said.
Barba also made note of Davidson showing interest lately, saying he’s “heard a lot” from them.
Throughout the process, Barba will be trying to identify a program that prioritizes him.
“Wanting to be wanted by the school, that’s like a big thing … It’s important to go to a school that wants you as much as you want them,” Barba said.
The 4.0 GPA student had Miami and Duquesne on the sidelines at each of his games this weekend in Indianapolis, so that’s a positive sign for Barba.
Coaches can check him and OBC’s 16U team in Atlanta next weekend for their second Gauntlet session. They went 2-2 this weekend, despite only carrying seven players.