Point guard Antonio Barton commits to Tennessee

Memphis guard Antonio Barton (2) is boxed in by Tennessee defenders Wes Washpun, left, and Renaldo Woodridge (3) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis won 69-51.

Photo by Lance Murphey, Associated Press

Memphis guard Antonio Barton (2) is boxed in by Tennessee defenders Wes Washpun, left, and Renaldo Woodridge (3) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis won 69-51.

Tennessee men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin held one open scholarship for the 2013-14 season heading into Memorial Day weekend.

It was snatched up Sunday by Memphis transfer Antonio Barton.

The 6-foot-2 point guard instantly fills a backcourt void for a UT team desperate for a ballhandler. Trae Golden, a two-year starter at point guard, left the program on May 7.

“I’m so excited,” Barton told The Associated Press. “I’m just ready to get started as quick as possible.”

He also told the AP that he sees plenty of opportunities for playing time.

A phone call from the News Sentinel to Barton was not returned.

UT officials can’t publicly comment until a signed Letter of Intent is received from Barton.

Barton, who graduated from Memphis in three years, will have one year of eligibility remaining and can play right away for the Vols. The NCAA permits graduates to transfer to a different school that offers a degree program not offered at their previous institution.

A native of Baltimore, Barton selected the Vols over offers from Maryland, Texas A&M and Kansas State. Numerous schools, including Syracuse, courted him after he announced in April his desire to transfer.

As a junior at Memphis, Barton averaged 5.6 points and 1.1 assists in 16.7 minutes per game and missed nine games in the second half of the season due to a hairline fracture in his right foot. His numbers have steadily dropped over his career, going from 6.6 points and 1.6 assists in 21.9 minutes as a sophomore from 8.2 points and 1.7 assists in 24.6 minutes as a freshman.

That said, Barton, a strong defensive players and a career 41.6 percent 3-point shooter (100-240), will likely be handed a starting role and 20 to 30 minutes per game at Tennessee. He will share the backcourt with reigning first team All-SEC selection Jordan McRae, combo guard Josh Richardson and incoming five-star freshman Robert Hubbs. UT also signed combo guard Darius Thompson.

In four career games against UT, Barton averaged 13.3 points in 22.8 minutes, making 18 of 30 shots. His 21-point performance against the Vols in the 2011 Maui Invitational was the second-best outing of his time at Memphis.

Barton is the brother of Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Will Barton. The two played alongside each other for Memphis coach Josh Pastner in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before Will Barton declared for the NBA draft.

Will Barton broke the news on Twitter of his brother’s intentions to transfer to Tennessee, tweeting on Sunday, “My bro Antonio Barton has decided to attend the university of Tennessee for his senior year where he will be allowed to play right away.”

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him on at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 76

volfan2002 writes:

We have a lot of talent on next year's team hopefully it will produce a great season and an NCAA berth.

VolPower360 (Inactive) writes:

In my opinion we didn't need Golden's offensive capabilities this year with Stokes, Maymon, Hubbs, Mccrae, and Richardson. We just need Barton to play good defense, maybe average 7 or 8 points a game, not turn the ball over, and distribute the ball to the above scorers. Barton seems to be a defensive upgrade over Golden who always seemed to be a step behind. Great pickup though!

GBO, VFL

mocsandvolsfan writes:

My nephew Kansas and then Vols fan is very happy we got Barton instead of Kansas State. Now Kansas State and Maryland are looking for Points.

btw we are looking pretty darn good knock on wood crossing toes and fingers holding rabbit's foot praying sort of things.

keepitreal4vols writes:

I like my point guards to have better assists #, I am not familar with Memphis style basketball so maybe the PG wasn't asked to distribute the ball to the scorers like most PG do.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

I like my point guards to have better assists #, I am not familar with Memphis style basketball so maybe the PG wasn't asked to distribute the ball to the scorers like most PG do.

They run the dribble drive offense or triangle offense geared to get the ball to the hottest shooter. I think it's a good fit for UT..Welcome aboard Antonio..GBO!!

BigBadVol writes:

Excellent pickup!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

I like my point guards to have better assists #, I am not familar with Memphis style basketball so maybe the PG wasn't asked to distribute the ball to the scorers like most PG do.

Well he only played about half the time Golden's been playin'. Hard to get a lot of assists in only 16 minutes a game I suppose. I hope he's clutch at the free throw line.

flatrock writes:

Antonio is a huge get for the Vols- the missing piece. His quickness will be especially valuable vs. quick PGs and vs. full-court pressure. Look for him to average 32 mins., 10.8 pts., and 3.4 assists. Barring injuries, Vols are headed to a 24-25 win season and a 4-5 seed in The Really Big Dance!

xanga writes:

top 15 team after this commit

1vavolfan writes:

He plays good defense, UT hasn't had a PG that could guard anyone in awhile. Awesome pickup, strange to see a Memphis regular starting at UT. I'll bet lil' Josh isn't too happy about this.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to flatrock:

Antonio is a huge get for the Vols- the missing piece. His quickness will be especially valuable vs. quick PGs and vs. full-court pressure. Look for him to average 32 mins., 10.8 pts., and 3.4 assists. Barring injuries, Vols are headed to a 24-25 win season and a 4-5 seed in The Really Big Dance!

This guy couldn't average numbers like you mention if he played 40 minutes per game.

He has 1 year to play. He must learn a new system and wasn't much of a player when playing for a weak Memphis team.There is a reason he left Memphis and it likely was not for the reasons stated in the article.

flatrock writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

This guy couldn't average numbers like you mention if he played 40 minutes per game.

He has 1 year to play. He must learn a new system and wasn't much of a player when playing for a weak Memphis team.There is a reason he left Memphis and it likely was not for the reasons stated in the article.

Is this you, Mr. GOLDEN?

chipmurphy461 writes:

I'm thrilled that we've signed a guard with some sort of experience to fill the void and Barton is the best we could've done on such short notice, all things considered. Stats per ESPN.com

#2 Antonio Barton
Memphis Tigers 2013 Record: 30-4
PPG 5.6
RPG 1.3
APG 1.1

Welcome aboard Antonio, triple those numbers for us

Alchovolic writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

This guy couldn't average numbers like you mention if he played 40 minutes per game.

He has 1 year to play. He must learn a new system and wasn't much of a player when playing for a weak Memphis team.There is a reason he left Memphis and it likely was not for the reasons stated in the article.

Umm Joe Jackson? First Team Parade All American. Barton lost minutes as Jackson progressed. Hopefully he will have a chip on his shoulder when he gets here.

Ironcity writes:

Zo pulled one out of his A*s and he needed to. Without a PG this team was going no where ( some of you think Thompson is a PG but he would have been no better then Moore was last year). Now I have high hopes for the sweet sixteen. By now Zo should not have to be searching for true PG. This should have been taken care of long ago however you still have to hand to Zo for getting the best PG available in June.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

This guy couldn't average numbers like you mention if he played 40 minutes per game.

He has 1 year to play. He must learn a new system and wasn't much of a player when playing for a weak Memphis team.There is a reason he left Memphis and it likely was not for the reasons stated in the article.

Really dude? Maybe you missed the part where Memphis humiliated UT at TBA this year. Barton is solid and his numbers went down because Jackson is a stud. A definite upgrade from chubby little Golden who couldn't guard guys from the SoCon or A-Sun. I've been skeptical of Martin but you couldn't have gotten anyone better this time of year.

oldster writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

I like my point guards to have better assists #, I am not familar with Memphis style basketball so maybe the PG wasn't asked to distribute the ball to the scorers like most PG do.

I would like to have just given you a thumbs up, but that is not an option; therefore, let me just say that I am in total agreement with you.

oldster writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

This guy couldn't average numbers like you mention if he played 40 minutes per game.

He has 1 year to play. He must learn a new system and wasn't much of a player when playing for a weak Memphis team.There is a reason he left Memphis and it likely was not for the reasons stated in the article.

I do not know what those reasons are, but they are pretty obviously not academics. A basketball player at any major university who graduates in 3 years is a pretty rare bird. It certainly seems to speak well for his overall, if not basketball, intelligence. Hopefully, the bb IQ is high as well.

mike#208050 writes:

Barton is a good addition for the Vols. A very experienced player. Quality person and a step up over Golden. He had some issues with Josh early last season as did Black. No surprise they both are gone. Hope he gets along with Martin better. Memphis wishes him the best. Good Luck Antonio!

BruisedOrange writes:

in response to oldster:

I do not know what those reasons are, but they are pretty obviously not academics. A basketball player at any major university who graduates in 3 years is a pretty rare bird. It certainly seems to speak well for his overall, if not basketball, intelligence. Hopefully, the bb IQ is high as well.

Rules Question:

Must he begin work on a Master's Degree, or can he enroll seeking a second undergraduate degree?

I'm sure he's got the ability for a Masters... just curious about the rule.

brod writes:

ut was an ncaa tourney most likely anyway. with or without golden. this is a great pick up. nice job cuonzo. this helps heal the wounds left by golden. i can't wait, just gotta figure out a way to get to atlantis.

johnlg00 writes:

Great pickup. With reference to some other posts on here, there just really aren't as many teams that run classic structured half-court offenses run by a dominating PG as some think. The dribble-drive, triple-post, and motion offenses that most teams run these days aren't structured to need that classic PG. Much of this is making a virtue of necessity, since there aren't as many players around these days who are capable of being classic PGs. A true classic PG is a pretty rare specimen these days. Not many coaches know how to coach one. Not many players grow up aspiring to be one.

I think the Vols did well getting Barton. He might be the key that opens the door to real NCAA success this year. His signing--or even more important, his success--might help in getting future players from Memphis. Hopefully, having Barton this year will give Thompson a chance to learn the role without so much pressure to perform right away. If he can learn the role, the Vols could be set at PG for a couple more years. If not, Martin has one more year to recruit a good PG out of HS.

VolTallent writes:

I wish Coach Martin would reach out to T.J. Kimble from Maryville for an invited walk on opportunity. T.J. has been overlooked through the recruiting process? Hard to explain why? T.J. can play D1 basketball. He is a little undersized from a height standpoint but he makes up for it with fantastic strength, toughness, and athleticism. He is extremely quick, powerful and explosive. He is a fierce competitor. He's even a better kid and from the best family. Conzo would love this kid. His only weakness might be an inconsistent shot, but with some tweeking this could still be developed. But in the mean time, there's not a gap that this kid can't penetrate. There's not a challenge he would back down from. Get him on weights, put 20lbs on him, and there's not an average size guard he couldn't shut down. He would provide some insurance to us at PG, and I believe would grow in to a HUGE surprise at the University of Tennessee. i can't even believe that UTC or ETSU, or even MTSU isn't all over this kid. Good grades, good attitude? All this kid needed was a couple more inches and he's on everybody's list. Check him out on the internet. Thelas TJ Kimble. There are videos out there.

EarthBoundMisfit writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

They run the dribble drive offense or triangle offense geared to get the ball to the hottest shooter. I think it's a good fit for UT..Welcome aboard Antonio..GBO!!

Actually...Josh Pastner runs the old 1-4 Arizona high stack offense that was used by Lute Olson. Pastner has not utilized DDM plays since his first year at Memphis (when we had returning players who were comfortable with the DDM offense that Calipari used to run).

You folks are getting a quality young man...I wish him nothing but the best.

EarthBoundMisfit writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

He plays good defense, UT hasn't had a PG that could guard anyone in awhile. Awesome pickup, strange to see a Memphis regular starting at UT. I'll bet lil' Josh isn't too happy about this.

As UT us not on Memphis' schedule next season...Josh could have cared less where Antonio played.

EarthBoundMisfit writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Great pickup. With reference to some other posts on here, there just really aren't as many teams that run classic structured half-court offenses run by a dominating PG as some think. The dribble-drive, triple-post, and motion offenses that most teams run these days aren't structured to need that classic PG. Much of this is making a virtue of necessity, since there aren't as many players around these days who are capable of being classic PGs. A true classic PG is a pretty rare specimen these days. Not many coaches know how to coach one. Not many players grow up aspiring to be one.

I think the Vols did well getting Barton. He might be the key that opens the door to real NCAA success this year. His signing--or even more important, his success--might help in getting future players from Memphis. Hopefully, having Barton this year will give Thompson a chance to learn the role without so much pressure to perform right away. If he can learn the role, the Vols could be set at PG for a couple more years. If not, Martin has one more year to recruit a good PG out of HS.

Anontio Barton is from Baltimore, Maryland....not Memphis.

hikerdude writes:

We need defense on the perimeter and imagination from Cuonzo. Maybe we get the defense with Barton but Cuonzo's lack of imagination will result in another 20-10 season and a first or second round lose in the NIT.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to EarthBoundMisfit:

Anontio Barton is from Baltimore, Maryland....not Memphis.

Thanks. It's sometimes hard to remember that there are and have been guys who played at Memphis that weren't actually FROM Memphis. There can't be too many schools who have as strong an identification with their city as Memphis. Besides, he has certainly played with and gotten to know any number of guys in the three years he spent in Memphis. You never know when a contact might work out. For that matter, Maryland puts out a goodly number of quality HS players every year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to hikerdude:

We need defense on the perimeter and imagination from Cuonzo. Maybe we get the defense with Barton but Cuonzo's lack of imagination will result in another 20-10 season and a first or second round lose in the NIT.

I agree that Martin needs perhaps to show a bit more imagination and flexibility. That said, he has probably never had as much talent and experience on a team before. One's mental horizons are defined by one's perception of particular situations. His first two years was all about learning how to compete at a high level in a league like the SEC. It was easy and perhaps necessary to take a conservative approach to the game while players and coaches were trying to get used to each other. Now that the roster is full, most of the guys have two years in Martin's program, and there are no obvious holes in the lineup, Martin may well feel that he can take time to teach the subtlties of time-and-score, out-of-bounds offense and defense, and perhaps a quicker pace on both offense and defense. This season will be an important test of his ability to coach talent and will determine the image, if not the reality, of his ability to recruit top-level talent.

SevenT writes:

I am sure Martin already has on board Trae Golden's academic tutor to cheat for Barton just like he helped Golden cheat to stay in school.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolTallent:

I wish Coach Martin would reach out to T.J. Kimble from Maryville for an invited walk on opportunity. T.J. has been overlooked through the recruiting process? Hard to explain why? T.J. can play D1 basketball. He is a little undersized from a height standpoint but he makes up for it with fantastic strength, toughness, and athleticism. He is extremely quick, powerful and explosive. He is a fierce competitor. He's even a better kid and from the best family. Conzo would love this kid. His only weakness might be an inconsistent shot, but with some tweeking this could still be developed. But in the mean time, there's not a gap that this kid can't penetrate. There's not a challenge he would back down from. Get him on weights, put 20lbs on him, and there's not an average size guard he couldn't shut down. He would provide some insurance to us at PG, and I believe would grow in to a HUGE surprise at the University of Tennessee. i can't even believe that UTC or ETSU, or even MTSU isn't all over this kid. Good grades, good attitude? All this kid needed was a couple more inches and he's on everybody's list. Check him out on the internet. Thelas TJ Kimble. There are videos out there.

So, the kid is, what, 5-10 and 150? I've always been a "how much fight in the dog" type, but a kid that size is just objectively going to have a hard time at the major-college level unless he is a truly extraordinary talent. It doesn't really help to hear that he isn't a great outside shooter. It may well be that Kimble could be a star in the right situation, it's just that the odds seem so low that most top-tier programs won't give a guy like that a shot. It might be saying something that the lower-tier schools haven't shown much interest yet, either. Still, an invitation to walk on wouldn't cost anybody anything.

bobbyal52#1417564 writes:

thanks josh,i needed that

flatrock writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Zo pulled one out of his A*s and he needed to. Without a PG this team was going no where ( some of you think Thompson is a PG but he would have been no better then Moore was last year). Now I have high hopes for the sweet sixteen. By now Zo should not have to be searching for true PG. This should have been taken care of long ago however you still have to hand to Zo for getting the best PG available in June.

Darius Thompson is far ahead of Moore when it comes to shooting, passing and ball handling. Darius' challenge is to get stronger so he can handle the physicality. of the SEC.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I have seen Barton play for several years, living here in Memphis. He is a very good player that will be of immense help to UT. He is just not on the same scale as Jackson, which not many are. This is a very important piece of the puzzle that UT needed immensely. This probably saved Cuonzo's job for at least one more year, depending upon Thompson's development next year. With Barton added, we should expect Sweet Sixteen this year.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to EarthBoundMisfit:

Actually...Josh Pastner runs the old 1-4 Arizona high stack offense that was used by Lute Olson. Pastner has not utilized DDM plays since his first year at Memphis (when we had returning players who were comfortable with the DDM offense that Calipari used to run).

You folks are getting a quality young man...I wish him nothing but the best.

Thx Misfit, it's breen a while since we have talked. This is your old frienemy biggestUTmanoncampus..P:)

reg_mza#219136 writes:

I just hope CCM realizes that he has a lot of depth and can create match up nightmares for opposing coaches. I hope he uses that bench the same way San Antonio is doing right now in the NBA and getting a lot of bodies involved. I hope he realizes that he can pressure teams and wear them out, grind them out, or run with them. I hope he's not stupid enough to go to some 7-8 man rotation when he has previous talent that got minutes last year as well as new talent coming in that can really get some things done for us.

kjasonrains#1417907 writes:

I'm a UT fan stuck in Memphis so I follow UM basketball on a casual level. Barton is a solid player. He was stuck behind Joe Jackson at point for 3 years, and while Jackson is no doubt a superior talent, the team played better a lot of the time Barton was on court. Good defense, low key on offense but a table setter that can hit from 3 point. He will not be playing professionally but h can be an excellent college player and UT is a perfect situation for him I wish him luck and feel he is going to be good pick up.

EarthBoundMisfit writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Thx Misfit, it's breen a while since we have talked. This is your old frienemy biggestUTmanoncampus..P:)

from the Commercial Appeal? Ah 8-)
I have re-registered for an account with them.
I live in Madisonville,KY now...and they won't let me use my old screen name.
I have to use MisfitRox there now.

Snapshot writes:

in response to SevenT:

I am sure Martin already has on board Trae Golden's academic tutor to cheat for Barton just like he helped Golden cheat to stay in school.

88-58....remember, seventeeth?

oldster writes:

in response to SevenT:

I am sure Martin already has on board Trae Golden's academic tutor to cheat for Barton just like he helped Golden cheat to stay in school.

It would not appear that the young man needs to cheat in as much as he graduated in 3 years? How long did it take you?

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to oldster:

It would not appear that the young man needs to cheat in as much as he graduated in 3 years? How long did it take you?

Bada bing. Bada boom.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to oldster:

It would not appear that the young man needs to cheat in as much as he graduated in 3 years? How long did it take you?

Well done!

Coach Zo may have picked up the key recruit he needed to get over the hump for good by getting Barton. Happy to see it happen.

Original_Witch_Doctor writes:

in response to oldster:

It would not appear that the young man needs to cheat in as much as he graduated in 3 years? How long did it take you?

Witch Doctor says great reply. Witch Doctor says SevenT in 25th year of kindergarten.
Bones never lie.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to EarthBoundMisfit:

As UT us not on Memphis' schedule next season...Josh could have cared less where Antonio played.

Really? You think so? A talented guy from his program is now playing for UT when he could just as easily be playing for Memphis doesn't bother Josh? Not to mention the rabid Memphis fan? Think again, misfit.

Do you think Memphis kids who grow up rooting for the Tigers don't notice that Barton - a three year Tiger - (not to mention a certain 5-star Memphian recruit) are now playing for the Volunteers? Do you think Pastner doesn't care about that, given all his caterwauling (get it? Tigers=cats=caterwauling?) about playing the Vols vs recruiting opportunities for UT in Memphis?

Doesn't matter where the kid is originally from anymore. He is a three-year Memphis player that talented young Memphis kids have identified with for three years and are now seeing him giving up his remaining year of eligibility he could have given to the Tigers to play for The University of Tennessee.

Could have cared less? You better believe he cares a lot. You say you are earth bound? I'd say more like space cadet.

tennrich1 writes:

Dont know if this has been mentioned or not but to throw a negative at it(dont like it but its worth discussion) remember most of the stats achieved at Memphis for, oh the last 7-8 years at least has been against FAR inferior talent than Barton will see at UT...having said that I think he'll be just fine...So dont get carried away with the stats from the Tigers schedule...JMO...

tennrich1 writes:

in response to EarthBoundMisfit:

As UT us not on Memphis' schedule next season...Josh could have cared less where Antonio played.

You are kiddin right?????

bUTch_please writes:

If the man can break a press and keep the ball rotating the top of the key...I'm good.

Welcome, Antonio, we don't like Josh either.

Zo VOLS!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Original_Witch_Doctor:

Witch Doctor says great reply. Witch Doctor says SevenT in 25th year of kindergarten.
Bones never lie.

Witch Doctor say the suck up approach wont work as everyone knows youre a fake.
Witch Doctor say instead of "Original" try "loser" in front of username...geez
Bones never lie.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Really? You think so? A talented guy from his program is now playing for UT when he could just as easily be playing for Memphis doesn't bother Josh? Not to mention the rabid Memphis fan? Think again, misfit.

Do you think Memphis kids who grow up rooting for the Tigers don't notice that Barton - a three year Tiger - (not to mention a certain 5-star Memphian recruit) are now playing for the Volunteers? Do you think Pastner doesn't care about that, given all his caterwauling (get it? Tigers=cats=caterwauling?) about playing the Vols vs recruiting opportunities for UT in Memphis?

Doesn't matter where the kid is originally from anymore. He is a three-year Memphis player that talented young Memphis kids have identified with for three years and are now seeing him giving up his remaining year of eligibility he could have given to the Tigers to play for The University of Tennessee.

Could have cared less? You better believe he cares a lot. You say you are earth bound? I'd say more like space cadet.

In addition to what you said, VL, the Tigers also had Tariq Black who left to go to Kansas. I think he is from Memphis. Does this send a message to the kids that if you don't cut it, Josh may send you packing, regardless of whether or not you are a Memphis kid? Maybe. Josh just got a million dollar raise, though, and I think with Josh changing conferences and starting to recruit more nationally, there will be more Memphis kids leaving home.

Snapshot writes:

in response to EarthBoundMisfit:

As UT us not on Memphis' schedule next season...Josh could have cared less where Antonio played.

I assume you meant "Jost could NOT have cared less." By saying it the way you did meant Josh really DID care where Antonio played, which we all know is the truth!

Hope I got you set straight, misinformed misfit.

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