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Kashaun Barnes soars to new heights in senior year at Ramapo College

Ramapo College senior guard Kashaun Barnes said he was a football guy initially. Freshman year at Matawan High School, Barnes was a back-up quarterback when the school won a state championship and followed up that with back-to-back state titles the following year in his sophomore year where he started playing basketball but did not take it too seriously.

Not until Barnes transferred to Manchester Township High School is where basketball became front and center. “There was a Christmas tournament that the school never won its history and I averaged 25 and won the MVP,” said Barnes.

Barnes credits Coach Ryan who played at St. Joe’s who made a few calls to see if he could play college basketball. Those dreams materialized where Barnes was a walk-on LaSalle. However, Barnes did not play his freshman year that led to him transferring to Stockton University.

In his freshman year, the Ospreys won the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The following season Barnes played in 29 games, starting 16 of them and poured in a career high 25 points in the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Championship Game win over Penn State Behrend and named MVP. The breakout season for Barnes was last season starting 18 games, tallying a career high 37 points against Montclair State and named to the NJAC Second-Team All-Conference.

On his time at Stockton University, “A great experience for me, unbelievable accomplishments and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Freshman year you come into win and are coached by Gerry Matthews. We won the NJAC Championship but Matthews retired and Scott Bittner took over. A new year for us, many players left but we ended up going 18-11 and won the ECAC. Young guys stepped up despite many injuries and Maurice Hart out half of the season. My junior season e did not have enough to get into the playoffs but had 37 points against Montclair and it was huge in a packed game and we got the win also.”

Seeking a new challenge, Barnes decided to transfer to Ramapo College for his senior year. With the Roadrunners graduating the entire starting five from last season and losing a couple of pivotal role players did not deter Barnes from enrolling in the school.

“I knew what I was coming into and watched and played against those guys and knew some that had transferred,” Barnes said. “A good situation for me, pretty smooth transition and got accepted right away. Coac(McBreen) introduced to me to everyone, who to talk to and where to go”

Not skipping a beat on the court, Barnes scored a team-high 25 points in his first game against Western Connecticut State. A career-high 36 points would come in the Classic Tournament in Las Vegas against Linfield College including a spectacular midcourt buzzer beater shot and named NJAC Player of the Week at the end of December 2018.

The pinnacle of Barnes senior season occurred at New Jersey City University notching his 1,000th career point. So far this season Barnes is leading Ramapo in scoring with an average of 20.3 points per game and free throw shooting average of .897% that place him both second in those categories in the NJAC. Currently the Roadrunners are 13-5, 7-4 in the NJAC and one game behind Rowan and New Jersey City in the conference standings.

“1,000 points is something personally I never expected but a great accomplishment,” said Barnes. “All due to hard work, not every point scored in a Ramapo uniform but to do it in this uniform is pretty cool and exciting.”

“Working out with my teammates, going to the gym before practice, putting up shots and doing things in situations that could possibly happen in games and more shots you put up the more confidence you have. I look at what I need to do to help us win and Coach (McBreen) says main thing is to do your job, play and have fun. If I need to rebound why not, have to score or make passes. Giving it no matter what you do to turn it into positive energy. Knowing it’s a game where you give it 40 minutes of what you have been working on in practice and motivation is enough for men to show everybody what you have been working for.”

On playing for Coach McBreen who is in his 21st season as the head coach of Ramapo College and will be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in April, “His love of basketball, he loves it to a point and it’s just not on the court and with us. He watches every college game and will come back to practice the next day and tell us every score in the conference and out of conference and how they played and what they did to lose a game. He goes above and beyond for his players though he yells at us on the court is out of love and one man who will do anything for us.”

With several games left in the regular season and Roadrunners in the hunt for a conference tournament spot, Barnes is not thinking about senior night and final regular season home game on February 13 at the Bradley Center against New Jersey City University.

“The season is really flying by fast and I tell my teammates it was just pre-season and working out at 6:30 in the morning running conditioning,” Barnes said. “Coach McBreen had really stuck his neck out for and helped me come into a new system and trusted me enough and my teammates helped me get the plays and understanding where I wanted to get now and be the best team we can be.”

“Playing at the Bradley Center is always amazing and people support us at every game no matter who we go against and always hearing Coach McBreen. My Mom and Uncle are at every single game and biggest supporters.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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