Last year, the Select Team lost the championship game to Philippine National Team in the 34th annual William Jones Cup. USA held a double-digit lead for much of the contest until its opponent rallied.
“That was the first time I played on a stage that big,” Barnes said. “I’ve played in some big events but not in front of 30 to 40,000 people. I’ve never seen so many fans before.”
Also members of the US team were Josh Powell, a Riverdale alum, Marcus Melvin, Scott VanderMeer, Curtis Marshall, Mychal Kearse, Wayne Arnold, Jordan Collins, Jermaine Dearman, Gerard Anderson, Desmond Blue, Brad Reese and James Justice.
According to Barnes, some of the same players will return but the official roster will not be compiled until the end of the month after tryouts.
“We will have a lot of high-level guys,” Barnes said.
The US team is scheduled to play nine games in nine days once again and face the national teams from the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Iran, South Korea, Lebanon, Qatar and Emirates.
“The national team is the best 12 players in that entire country,” Barnes said. “When they made substitutions they subbed in five more great players. It was probably the highest level of competition I’ve faced.”
After representing his country, Barnes plans to continue playing abroad, competing in a league in Saudi Arabia. The 6-5 swingman said he will play basketball for at least three more years but no more than five years.
“I’ve always been invested in business,” said Barnes, who took ownership of his company at 25. “Basketball isn’t the end factor for me. It was a stepping stone to what I really wanted to achieve in my latter years.”
Last season for the GIE Maile Matrix team of the UBA, Barnes averaged 27 points on 53 percent shooting, including 42 percent from 3-point range, with seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals