Jimmy Barton is spending his summer in Columbia getting adjusted and doing what he loves – playing basketball.
The De Smet Jesuit graduate and Des Peres native is planning to walk onto the Missouri Tigers this season. The all-time single season and career assist leader at De Smet decided to leave Houston Baptist after his freshman season and play closer to home.
“I’ve been in Columbia since June 30,” Barton said. “I’m really excited to be a part of Missouri.”
A 5-foot-10, 160-pound point guard, Barton said, “Houston Baptist was a good experience for a year. It just wasn’t a good fit. I just couldn’t see myself staying there for four years. The players were great guys. The coaches were good to me. The culture wasn’t what fit.”
It was a situation Barton said he may have hurried into.
“I mean it was kind of a rush when I committed,” Barton said. “I went down there on a Monday. It was my first Division I offer. I rushed into it. It just was not the right place for me. Even though the basketball season went well for me, I knew I wasn’t going to stay.”
In his final year at De Smet Jesuit, Barton averaged 14 points a game along with 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds. He was named Metro Catholic Conference co-player of the year along with Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum. Barton also was named first-team all-state in Class 4, was a member of De Smet’s 1,000-point club and was the school’s all-time assists leader.
“He’s an absolute gym rat,” De Smet coach Kevin Poelker said. “Nobody will outwork him. He’s passionate daily about basketball. He works on his game, his body and his skills.”
At Houston Baptist, Barton appeared in 31 games. He started 13 games. Barton averaged 3 points per game with 57 assists, which ranked third for the Huskies.
Now, he will try to walk on at Missouri. He is not guaranteed anything but an opportunity.
However, Poelker he thinks that is all Barton will need.
“He had a full ride at a Division I school. He spent a lot of time and energy on his game,” Poelker said. “Walking on, it’s tough but he’s got his foot in the door. He’s back in the home state. It’s Mizzou.”
And that most of all is why Barton wanted to come home.
I’ve always wanted to play for my state school,” Barton said. “I’ve been a big Mizzou fan forever. When coach (Kim) Anderson got hired I was really exited about it. Him getting hired and it being my state school were the deciding factors for me to go there.
“They pretty much told me they can’t guarantee me anything. You want the best players on the floor to play and I understand that.”
Still, he said he’s excited about having the chance – and coming home.