Thursday, September 6, 2012

Barr Commits to Bentley

A couple weeks ago Matt Barr was offered a basketball scholarship by Bentley University - he has now accepted it. Barr received the offer following a breakout season on the AAU circuit with MB Nation.

"I have always wanted to go to Bentley, it was a dream for me" said Barr. "When I visited Bentley I loved it. The campus is really nice, I can't say enough good things about Coach Lawson and Coach Bettencourt. And after meeting the team I felt even more comfortable there."

The 6-foot-1 guard is transferring from Exeter High to Cushing Academy, where he will play his senior season this winter. Then he will enroll and play at Bentley next year, becoming the first NH player from the Class of 2013 to earn a basketball scholarship.

Bentley wasn't the only school that was recruiting the talented shooting guard.

"The other schools that were showing a lot of interest were Assumption (offered me for 2013 and 2014), Columbia, Florida Southern, Eckerd College, Rollins College and Wesleyan" Barr explained.

The decision of where to attend college is one of the most important ones a young person can make, but for Barr the choice was easy.

"When it came to making the decision I felt it was pretty easy" said Barr, who had back-to-back 30+ point games to end the 2011-2012 high school season. "I love everything about the school and the basketball program and I think it will be perfect for me. I want to study business too and the program at Bentley is one of the best."

Bentley is part of the Northeast-10, which is one of the most competitive Division II conferences in the country for basketball. They have had a winning record in 20 of the last 21 seasons under head coach Jay Lawson.

"I'm really excited about playing for Bentley, being a such a quality D-II program" beamed Barr. "The team has been great recently and it's expected to have a chance to win the NE-10 and play in the tournament. It's a level that coming in as a freshman I'm going to have to fight to get on the floor and prove myself, but eventually I think I'll be able contribute and be an important part of the team."

Barr was part of a very talented MB Nation team this summer, one that won the vast majority of their games despite playing up in most tournaments and also went to AAU Nationals in Florida.

"This is actually the third year in a row MB Nation has sent a player to Bentley" remarked MB Nation director Mike 'Woody' Woodbury. "Andrew Shaw made the NE-10's All-Rookie team last year, Alex Furness is a freshman there this year and now Matt. We run 4 out 1 in, a structured, disciplined dribble drive offense. Matt fit this system perfectly, and Bentley runs the same system."

At the beginning of the summer Barr announced he was transferring from Exeter High to Cushing and reclassifying to the Class of 2014. But Bentley offered him for 2013 and he took it. So with his scholarship in hand and just one year left of high school, the question then became would Barr still go to Cushing this year or return to Exeter.

"I chose to still go to Cushing over returning to Exeter because I think I will be much more prepared for Bentley" explained Barr. "It's tough to leave Exeter, but Cushing will be an experience that I'm still excited about. Academically I'll be more ready for the type of education I'll receive at Bentley, and athletically I think I can develop my game more at Cushing and prepare myself for college basketball."

Also on the team at Cushing is junior guard Kaleb Joseph (Nashua, NH) who holds a number of Division I offers as well as Andrew Chrabascz, a senior forward who has recently committed to Butler.

"The team at Cushing this year is going to be very good" said Barr. "The NEPSAC is full of great competition and I think we have a chance to be one the best teams. I'm really excited to play with some really good players and to play for Coach Connors. Every day I'll be tested and I think I will gain a lot from that."

Barr would have been the best player in the NHIAA this winter if he stuck around at Exeter, so it's definitely a tough loss for the Blue Hawks. But the trend over the last few years has been that the NHIAA's top players have been leaving for prep school. Over the last few years Exeter has not only lost Exeter, but they had Mike Thorpe move to Massachusetts, Brad Holler transferred to BG and Quentin Bullen transferred to St. John's Prep. That's why you have to give credit to Blue Hawks head coach Jeff Holmes for taking it all in stride, handling those losses with class and making the best of the hand he's dealt.

"I congratulate Matt for committing to Bentley" said Coach Holmes. "Bentley is a great school and Basketball Program and that will fit Matt nicely because he also an outstanding student. Matt is a highly skilled player who will continue to get better because of his passion and work ethic for basketball"

After this winter's season at Cushing, Barr will be able to get further preparation for his career at Bentley with yet another AAU season with MB Nation as a result of the NCAA's new rules.

"The rules have changed and there is a new NCAA 17U Open Division" explained Coach Woodbury. "Matt will be able to play in all of the same tournaments as he did this year, with the only exception being AAU Nationals. This will make him a better player for Bentley."

So all of Barr's hard work over the years has paid off. He'll be able to attend a great school, play for a big time basketball program and go there for free. With that pressure listed off he can now focus on having a big senior year at Cushing.

"Coach Woody was a huge help and I'm grateful I played for MB Nation" concluded Barr. "He really got my name out there and helped me bring my game to the next level. Coach Holmes has been great the past couple years and helped me develop into the player I am today. I would also have to give thanks to Noah Laroche and Integrity Hoops, training with him has been a huge help the past couple years."

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