AMES, Iowa -- Harrison Barnes, former Ames High School standout basketball player and current member of the Dallas Mavericks, is back home for a few days.
Barnes and his wife Brittany are supporting the Summer Reading Buddy Program with Raising Readers and the Ames Public Library. The program at five locations with 130 kids is taking place in Ames and Nevada.
“It's really a testament, one, to the volunteers who help make this thing run, but two, to the kids who say education is important, I want to get better at reading. It's not a thing to be ashamed of, it's a resource to help you continue to grow and learn,” said Barnes. “I read all the time, my best friend actually recommended a book called All the Light We Cannot See. I’m reading that right now, halfway through, a phenomenal book.”
Barnes is also hosting a basketball camp at Ames High School and another in the Dallas area.
"It’s not necessarily about the skill at this point, I just think you see the passion, you see the kids light up and they’re so excited and they’re really into the drills. That, more than anything, will help them achieve what they want to achieve," said Barnes, who also attended similar camps while growing up in Ames. “The one I always refer to the most is the Fred Hoiberg camp, just because I remember it so vividly because Fred was always there, he was always interacting with the kids. I was like, man, if I make to the NBA someday, I would love to have a youth camp as well, and do that.”
Barnes said he is excited for a new season to start with the Mavericks but sad to see his high school teammate, Doug McDermott, move on from the Mavericks to the Indiana Pacers.
“I was hoping, like, man if he gets a long-term deal with the Mavericks that would be great, hopefully we can get some of the Ames High chemistry going,” said Barnes. “I’m extremely happy for Doug, not only what he’s accomplished in his career, but with this new deal with Indiana, they got a great player.”
Barnes was asked if he is in position to recruit players to help him take on his old team and current NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.
“We’re working on it, I’m never against recruiting. Obviously I want to be able to have the best team we can have, to go out there and compete every single night,” said Barnes. “It's about finding the right guys, not about finding the guys who are the bet on paper.”
Barnes credits the Mavericks' front office for doing a good job this summer.