On guard: CK’s Barrow sharpening up perimeter skills

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Maurice Barrow knows his days living on the blocks will be coming to an end, something he is readying for. The Christ the King senior has played power forward the majority of his high-school career, but at 6-foot-3 he will most likely play a small forward at the college level.

So this summer has been dedicated to improving Barrow’s ball handling, working on defending quicker players and making his outside shot, especially behind the arc, more consistently. Those are all skills he will need this season and in the future.

“His handle is getting so much better,” Christ the King freshmen and varsity assistant coach Greg Lemko said. “He is able to step out and shoot 3s. He is able to beat guys off the dribble. He couldn’t do that in the beginning of last year.”

There is one shot in particular this summer that stands out to Lemko. In the championship game of the Villanova team camp Barrow launched, without hesitation, and made the winning 3-pointer. It was a shot he would likely would not have taken a year ago. Lemko said that Barrow has always been a superb passer and was at times content to just do that and not really look for his own offense.

Last season he became aggressive in transition and now needs to be the same overall. The Royals will need to replace the consistent 25 points per game they received from Sean Johnson, who is heading to Duquesne this fall. At least part of that responsibility will fall on Barrow.

“My job is to do what he did for us last year,” he said of Johnson.

Barrow, who is being recruited by Hofstra, Manhattan and Iona among others, is part of one of the best and most versatile frontcourts in the city, along with the 6-foot-8 Roland Brown and the 6-foot-7 Dominykas Milka, on a team that can again challenge for a CHSAA intersectional title after losing to Rice in last year’s final. Pride coach Tom Pecora was in attendance Wednesday at Holy Cross’ Super Hoop JamFest to watch Barrow play.

“We have been talking about it since the end of last year,” Barrow said of the opportunity the team has next season.

His developing perimeter skills, especially the 3-point shot, which he said he began to get a feel for early last season, could allow the Royals to play big with Barrow at the three-spot something that can cause major mismatches and give them an advantage running in transition.

“We also like to run,” Barrow said. … “We don’t have a problem with that.”

Nor will he have a problem picking which way he is going to score, something that should certainly torment defenses.

“Because he has elevated his game to where he can really knock down 3s, he forces you to have to come out and play him,” Lemko said. “Once you come out and play him, he can still put the ball on the floor and just dunk on your head.”

Posted 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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