New transfer Jordan Barnett was the bright spot on night against Georgia

With Barnett watching, those that watched Barnett score 43 points and grab 20 rebounds in the 2014 state championship against Hickman at Mizzou Arena had to have been salivating.

Jordan Barnett was dressed in all-black but was the brightest spot for the Missouri’s men’s basketball team on Wednesday night.

What a quick transition it’s been for the 6-foot-6 forward who transferred to Missouri from the University of Texas. A state championship winner in 2014 with Christian Brothers College high school in St. Louis, Barnett returned to his home state and that state’s school Wednesday night as Missouri fell to Georgia 60-57.

It was timely a week ago amid the self-imposed NCAA violations when’s Gabe DeArmond broke the news that Barnett would return home. Although offered by Missouri out of high school, Barnett pledged his commitment to Texas and their former coach Rick Barnes.

After Barnes was fired at the end of last year, Barnett was caught in a bind after the Longhorns hired Shaka Smart, who chose not to play him to the extent to which Barnett wanted. Hence the reason he transferred.

“Jordan is a young man who’s obviously an outstanding player,” coach Kim Anderson said post-Georgia. “He was an outstanding player in high school in St. Louis and won the state championship here. He practiced yesterday and shot around with us today, so he’s got some experienced and I’m excited to have him.”

Anderson will have to wait as Barnett won’t really suit up until the second semester of the 2016-17 season.

Asked how much he’d like to have Barnett on his team now and Anderson said: “Well, I mean, I’d like to have everybody. I’d love to have Trevor Glassman — he’s our walk-on.”

In reality, though, Barnett’s services would have certainly helped.

Missouri, dressed in their anthracite uniforms, jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to a three-pointer from freshman Terrence Phillips, but it was two fouls committed by junior guard Wes Clark that hurt Missouri’s offense in the first half.

Struggling to score for the first of three four-minute periods in the game, Georgia went on a quick 6-0 run that propelled them to a 19-13 lead. But even without Clark, the Tigers were able to claw back and tie the game at 22 at halftime.

In the second half it was much of the same. Missouri held a 34-33 lead until the Georgia Bulldogs ignited a 17-0 run sparked by four three-pointers to take a 50-34 lead. And though Mizzou fought back to cut the lead to three with just under a minute to play, Georgia emerged with the victory.

Two years earlier, Barnett scored 43 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in Mizzou Arena. It was the 2014 state basketball championship against Hickman high school, and Barnett was named MVP of game and tournament.

In high school and in AAU, Barnett played for Tim Holloway and the St. Louis Eagles who spoke on Barnett in a phone interview Wednesday morning.

“I think it’s great that Jordan is back here in Missouri and I’m excited for him and I think he’ll have a chance to play and thrive and help the team and the program,” Holloway said. “Obviously, he’s a very good player. He’s an athletic player, a slasher that can definitely get to the bucket and finish through contact and I think in the SEC that’s something you need to have.”

Barnett’s time will come, but for Missouri, it’s a matter of waiting until then. Why? Because in games like Wednesday night against an SEC foe like Georgia, he’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

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