Breathe easy, Mount fans, Raven Barber is here to stay. After meeting his new head coach, Robert Burke, in a team meeting Thursday at about 5 p.m., the highly touted rising sophomore post from Paul VI high school has no desire to look at other schools.
“I’m not going to go anywhere else, I want to be here with my teammates,” Barber said on campus Thursday afternoon. “There ain’t no reason to go somewhere else, sit out for a year, and [then I] gotta learn a whole new playing style. I’m just going to fulfill my college career here [at the Mount.]”
Barber, who missed the first nine games of the 2009-2010 season due to NCAA Clearinghouse issues, is optimistic about what Burke can bring to the program.
“After he started talking I could see that he’s a pretty cool dude. I know he’s real calm. All he wants is the best for us,” Barber said. “He said he just wants to win. He came here and said ‘I want y’all to win, I don’t want to stop what y’all are doing’ so I was really down for that.”
Barber added that his high school coach Glen Farello has known Burke for 10 years and that Farello reassured Barber that Burke is a good fit for the Mount.
Burke plans to meet with all of the players individually Saturday, according to Barber, who looks forward to getting to know his new coach.
“Probably what I’m really curious about is what he wants best for us, to see what he wants best. How he’s going to play us, how he’s going to use our team, and probably how he is as a person because we haven’t fully gotten to know him,” Barber said. “It’s our first day knowing him so that’s what I want.”
Although Barber expressed initial satisfaction in the hiring of Burke, he did say he was disappointed that Brion Dunlap was not named head coach.
“I was disappointed because coach Bri, he knows us as a team and as individuals, he’s like one of the boys. He knew the system and he was going to keep going with how it was and how we played in our playing style,” Barber said.
Nonetheless, Barber remains optimistic for Burke to take over.
“I’m going to see what’s in his head and what he wants with the Mount, what he wants best,” Barber said. “Hopefully it’s another good three years and we stay on our winning path and be successful.”
After making a good impression on the players, Burke put in a little PR work as well. The Mount’s intramural softball championship took place last night at 6 p.m. and Burke stopped by the game to watch as some of the basketball players participated in the championship.
Barber, who started 21 of his 22 appearances in his freshman season, averaged five points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor in 15.1 minutes per game.
UPDATE 12:08 p.m.: The versatile 6-foot-10 forward from Croatia, Kristijan Krajina, has confirmed that he will stay as well. Krajina is a post with great size and deadly touch around the rim as well as from 3. He appeared in 20 games averaging 7.4 minutes for the Mount in 2009-2010.
I don't know much about Burke personally but I agree with most of what Raff, who does know some things about him, wrote this morning.
Go Mount and welcome coach Burke.