- Stay Connected to Vype:
- Follow @VYPECK
By Conor Nicholl
VYPE South Central Kansas
Southeast senior guard Israel Barnes developed his strong faith and character at Chisholm Trail Church of Christ in Wichita. The church helped hone his basketball skills, too.
Barnes and his father, Todd, have a key to the Chisholm gym and constantly had practices and workouts during the years. Often the practices went past 11 p.m. and focused on all basketball skills, especially conditioning.
“I have done this since I was five years old,” Barnes said. “My dad is just the type of person that just wants me to put in 100 percent to everything, and I love him so much. That’s really like my best friend.”
The work at Chisholm and through the summer MoKan (Missouri-Kansas) basketball program has molded Barnes into another Wichita great.
“I just really love the City League and everything that it brings,” Barnes said. “And I feel like me being one of the faces of the City League, I just feel like we want to just keep growing it.”
The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Barnes, who averaged 28 points and eight rebounds for Southeast last year, recently signed with Division I Weber State University, which produced current NBA all-star point guard Damian Lillard.
Former Southeast standout Jerrick Harding is a Weber State starter as a sophomore. Two years ago, Harding and Barnes led Southeast to a Class 6A state runner-up finish.
“We really had a good system that year, and we all loved each other on that team,” Barnes said. “That was a real great bond that I will remember forever.”
Last season, the Golden Buffalo slipped back to around .500 with a young team. Additionally, Southeast switched to a new gym after decades in its famously small fieldhouse. This year, Southeast returns a group that includes senior Chase Williams, junior Johnny Murdock, and sophomores Micah Jacques and Shawn Warrior.
“It’s beautiful, it’s a fresh start, everything about it is new, and of course, we are going to have to get acclimated, we are have to get used to it,” coach Melvin Herring said. “The first couple of games it was kind of like I am coming to a visiting game. I am not at home, but it’s home. But for us, we know we’ve got to make it home.”
Growing up, Herring played basketball at the park with friends that included Todd. Todd and his brother Val, were standouts at Wichita South. Herring served in the navy for eight years, including the first Persian Gulf conflict.
Once Herring returned to Wichita, he talked with longtime friend Reggie Love about coming back to basketball. Herring first saw Barnes at Coleman Middle School, a Southeast feeder. Barnes went to Sunrise Christian as a freshman and then transferred to Southeast.
“His basketball game was a lot more mature than the other kids,” Herring said. “He had already been well-taught.”
Herring worked with multiple Wichita-area players in previous summers, including several with the late legendary Southeast coach Carl Taylor. Herring joined Taylor’s staff as an assistant, and took over the program prior to the 2012-13 season.
Barnes averaged 19.2 points per game as a sophomore before he took over the team last winter. He had multiple Division I offers, including Tulsa and Texas Tech, but will joing Harding at Weber State.
“You reap what you sow and Israel has always had a really good work ethic,” Herring said.