A positive male role model is vital in a young man’s life, providing guidance, positive reinforcement and structure along the journey of boyhood to manhood. For some, this role model can be found in their father, uncle or a neighbor.
For Christopher Barnett, that guiding light was found in his grandfather.
“My grandfather made an amazing impact on my life, getting me out that Black social norm, just teaching me the stuff that Black people usually don’t do,” Barnett said.
It was his grandfather that at an early age encouraged him to play chess and try sports where Black participant numbers are still low, like swimming, and golf.
“I’ve been playing golf for about five years. I used to be in tournaments, competing, just enjoying the time while I was there,” the Elkins High School senior said. “The game of golf taught me patience.”
As he grew taller Barnett began playing basketball competitively in the 7th grade with T.J. Ford’s team. However, it was the patience that he learned through the game of golf that allowed him to remain calm and excel while on the basketball court.
Elkins head coach Albert Thomas was more than willing to share what Barnett meant to the team.
“Chris meant a huge amount to us as a leader, off the floor, and on the floor,” Thomas said. “He solidified our defense because he talked to everyone and anchored what was going on behind the scenes.”
At 6 feet 5 inches tall, playing down low can be a challenge if asked to guard a stretch post player. However, as the anchor Barnett has the quickness to move his feet and stay vertical.
“I’m an anchor really on the defensive end. I’m the voice that gets everybody in the right position,” Barnett said.
During the 2022 – 2023 season, Elkins High School found themselves in a three-way tie for second going into playoffs with a record of 11-4. Unfortunately, they were defeated by Seven Lakes High School ending their championship run. For some there is still next year. However, for seniors like Barnett, this may have been their final game.
With no offers, but hopes to play on the next level, Barnett expressed what he is looking for in a college basketball program.
“What I’m looking for on the next level is a team that fits my playing style. A coach that knows what I can do and what I can bring, and one I can trust. A team that’s compassionate about what they do, hardworking, and just motivates me so I can get out there and finish what those guys started.”
While in college Barnett plans to major in business management. When asked why he chose business as a major, Barnett credits advice given to him by one of his early high school teachers.
“My teacher from freshman year, Ms. Smallwood, gave me some advice when I asked her about majors. Her husband was in business. I want to do a podcast based on sports,” said the grounded Barnett.
Only positive things await Barnett on his road ahead, who summed up his approach to his present and future realities with words that sound life “grandfather” wisdom.
“I can’t do anything but try my best and succeed at what God has for me at the next level,” he said.
Measurements: 6’5” 200 lbs
Players he studies: Charles Anderson (Dawson HS), Keyonte George (Baylor), Lebron James (Lakers)
Favorite Artist: Moneybagg Yo, NBA YoungBoy, Lil Boosie
Favorite Subject in School: Statistics
Shoutouts: Coach Thomas, Coach Blair, Coach Hamilton, Coach Whitaker, Doc, Coach T.J. Ford, Mom, Grandpa, Granny, brothers and sisters and my friends