By Brian Paglia
Riverdale's Terrell Barnes wanted to focus on the Raiders goal of returning to the Final Four of the state playoffs, so he figured that meant concluding his college recruitment.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward accepted a scholarship offer from Ohio Valley Conference member Tennessee Tech and committed to the Golden Eagles. He signed a letter of intent last Wednesday, giving him the peace of mind to concentrate on his senior season.
"I wanted to get it over with," Barnes said, "and went I went up there it just felt like the right thing to do. I wanted to focus on the high school team. I feel like we have a pretty good chance to win a state championship this year. We have a chance to win a state championship, and I just wanted to stay focused with my guys."
"It's a lot of pressure off him," Riverdale coach Derick Powell added. "With him being on of our key players, it's a lot of pressure off us. He doesn't have to worry about going out to perform at his best and try to impress people every night. He got that part behind, so he can just go out and concentrate and have fun and enjoy his senior year."
Barnes also got offers from Central Florida and Arkansas State and had considered Tulane, College of Charleston and others. But Barnes said his familiarity with some of Tennessee Tech's current players, many whom he either played with or watched play for the AAU team Georgia Stars, made him feel comfortable.
Three of the Golden Eagles' incoming freshman this season are from Georgia - Bassey Inameti (Peachtree Ridge High School), Tyler McDaniels (Meadowcreek) and Kevin Murphy (Creekside), who Barnes' Riverdale team defeated in the second round of last season's state playoffs.
"When I went up there and visited with the guys, I just felt like I could gel with those guys," Barnes said, "It kind of fit. It kind of felt right playing with those guys already. I knew most of them because I played with the Stars, I'd seen them grow up since they were older than me, but I also knew I could compete with them."
Barnes said he should get ample opportunity to compete right away at power forward under Tennessee Tech coach Mike Sutton.
"I just think if I go there and do what I do, take of what I can take care of, I think I have a legit chance of maybe even starting," Barnes said.