There was a time when Doug McDermott looked up to Harrison Barnes. On Friday night when the Bulls take on the undefeated Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, McDermott will be staring into his eyes as he defends his old high school teammate.
Barnes and McDermott led Ames High to back-to-back Iowa state titles, going 53-0 in their junior and senior seasons.
Barnes was the star; McDermott the sidekick and sixth man.
The two did not play against each other last season because McDermott was out both times with an injury.
They did, however, square off once in college when Barnes’ North Carolina Tar Heels defeated McDermott’s Creighton Blue Jays 87-73 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Barnes had 17 points and five rebounds. McDermott had a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds.
Leading up to that game, McDermott had great things to say about Barnes.
From StarNews Online:
I really looked up to him and how hard he worked. I think part of the reason I’m where I am right now is because the kind of role model he’s been. I remember going to our senior year, he would be at the gym probably 6 a.m. lifting, then getting shots up afterwards. Every once in awhile we’d have a day off of practice and he would send us a group text to come work out with him. He was just a great leader throughout high school, and it’s pretty cool to see how far he’s come.
Barnes turned pro after his sophomore season and has soared to even greater heights. After starting all 103 games on last year’s championship team, the 6-7 small forward is averaging a career-high 13.5 points a game this season for the undefeated Warriors.
Meanwhile, McDermott struggled with injuries and limited playing time during his rookie campaign last season. It’s been a different story this season under new coach Fred Hoiberg, also an Ames High alum. With Mike Dunleavy out, McDermott has worked his way into the starting lineup and is averaging 10.5 points in 20.9 minutes.
When the Warriors and Bulls meet tonight, it’ll be quite the Ames High reunion for Barnes, McDermott and Hoiberg, Ames’ best all-time player—just ask him.