It looked like the Maryland Terrapins were set to land Memphis Tigers point guard transfer Antonio Barton, as Barton hails from Baltimore and a source close to the Baltimore Sun referred to Maryland’s chances as “a layup”. Now, those chances are at a “three point shot”, because another source told writer Don Markus that the Tennessee Volunteers could keep Barton in the state of Tennessee after hosting Barton on a visit in Knoxville either on Wednesday or Thursday.
Maryland now has some stiff competition from Tennessee, and this is one transfer story to keep close watch on. The former three-star PG committed to Memphis as a member of the 2010 recruiting class over offers from Virginia, Xavier, Miami, and USF. None of those four schools, however, have been heavily involved in Barton’s transfer.
Barton was also considering the Texas A&M Aggies and Syracuse Orange, but both schools fell out of favor and were clearly in the backseat to Maryland. C.J. Fair and Barton are close friends, but Barton had his eyes on Syracuse’s incoming freshman PG Tyler Ennis, and that’s more than enough reason to reconsider.
Markus writes that Barton will be eligible to play right away, and that he is likely attracted to Tennessee due to the transfer of key player Trae Golden. Mark Turgeon reportedly has a high amount of interest in bringing Antonio Barton to the Terps program, so expect this to be a huge battle between the Tennessee Volunteers and Maryland. However, don’t count out Syracuse completely either, but at this point Maryland and the Vols are in the driver’s seat. I still think Maryland ends up landing the 6’2″, 178 pound senior, but it’s going to be close.
Barton saw his playing time drop in each of his first three years at Memphis, and it was no surprise that he decided to leave the Tigers program. Last season, he had a mediocre 13.9 PER and had his worst year offensively. However, Barton did improve on defense and did a better job of handling the ball with just 0.8 turnovers per game and a 13.2% turnover rate being telling statistics. In his career at Memphis, Barton shot 45.3% from the floor and also nailed 41.7% of his three-pointers, and this comes despite an absolutely putrid free-throw clip that was barely above 65% in three seasons.