Boys Varsity Basketball
Columbus North senior Blake Barker has committed to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to continue his academic and athletic career, he announced via Twitter.
Barker, a 6-1 guard, averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals in leading the Bull Dogs to an 18-6 record as a junior in 2019-2020. He shot 50.9 percent from the field (138-of-271), including 41 percent on 3-pointers (41-of-100). He also converted 73.9 percent of his free throws (99-of-134).
“I would like to thank God for giving me an amazing opportunity through basketball,” Barker wrote in a Tweet. “I also would like to thank my parents, sister and the rest of my family for supporting me through this journey. I would like to thank my coaches, who taught me everything I know. I would like to thank my friends and classmates who have supported me as well.
“I wouldn’t be in the position I am in with the support of all these people. I can’t thank you enough. I will now be continuing my academic and basketball career at Army.”
At Army, Barker will be joining a Black Knights’ program that has posted a 54-70 record and a 30-42 mark in the Patriot League over the past four seasons for coach Jimmy Allen. Alex King, a 2017 Columbus North graduate, and Tucker Blackwell of Bloomington South are rising seniors in the program. Also, Ben Kinker of Oldenburg Academy is a rising junior and Noah Jager of Bloomington South is an entering freshman.
Allen offered Barker a scholarship on Aug. 4, and Barker responded with his commitment on Friday (Aug. 14). He plans to major in business.
“I was very impressed by what the campus looked like and just the facilities and the location,” Barker told The Republic. “I just felt like it was a great basketball school as well as academic school. I liked the coaching staff. I really liked the feel of the school as a whole. It just felt like it was going to be a great fit for me.”
Barker – an IBCA/Subway Underclass Large School All-State selection last season and a two-time first-team all-Conference Indiana choice – understands that West Point graduates are to spend five years in active duty in the U.S. Army followed by three years in the Army Reserves.
“I’m looking forward to the structure and having to be very disciplined in what I do,” he told the newspaper. “That’s something I look forward to.”
Barker enters his senior season at Columbus North with 1,073 career points, fifth on the Columbus High/Columbus North all-time scoring list. He is within striking distance of the four players ahead of him – 2015 graduate Josh Speidel with 1,512 points, 1963 graduate Bill Russell with 1,272 points, 2014 graduate Evan Henry with 1,200 points and 1968 graduate Tom Arnholt with 1,075 points.
Barker is pleased to have been able to settle on his college choice before his senior season.
“I just get to go into my senior year enjoying what I have and just focus on the team and not anything else,” Barker said. “I just want to have a great year with my teammates and hopefully win our first sectional. That is the goal. I hope we get to have that chance.”
PHOTO: Blake Barker makes a move to the basket against East Central during a game on Feb. 8, 2020. Barker finished the play with a dunk and reached 1,000 career points with the basket. Barker enters his senior season with 1,073 points in a Columbus North uniform.