Jose Juan Barea: True Point Guard
Northeastern junior point guard Jose Juan Barea has taken college basketball by storm and is turning heads around the country.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1984, Jose Barea has played international basketball for Puerto Rico for years. Most recently, at the U-21 tournament of the Americas in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Barea averaged 24.8 points, 7.2 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game and was the main reason Puerto Rica was able to reach the gold medal game. And Barea did this against the likes of Chris Paul, Dee Brown and Salim Stoudamire. He dominated them and everyone else who tried to guard him.
At the Under 21 Centrobasket tournament in Caguas, PUerto Rico, Barea won MVP while helping Puerto Rico win the gold medal. He led the entire tournament in points (18.0 ppg), assists (7.5 apg) and steals (3.5 spg).
In the 2004 Global Games, Barea led everyone in scoring with 28.5 ppg.
He played high school basketball in Florida, where he enjoyed similar success.
As for this season, the 6-0 Barea now dominates just about everyone Northeastern plays against. Here's a taste of recent games:
- 36 points, five rebounds and seven assists in a win over New Hampshire on February 2, 2005.
- 17 points, three rebounds and eight assists in a win over Bingamton on January 30.
- 25 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals in a win over Stony Brook on January 26.
For the season, Barea is averaging 22.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game on 42% shooting from the field and 77% from the free throw line.
Barea is a true point guard. One scout that InsideHoops.com spoke to compares Barea to an especially popular name in the basketball world these days, Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash. Both Barea and Nash can penetrate and score, and they play hard-nosed basketball and carry a team. And they both make teammates better. They're the kind of point guards that simply force their teams to win.
Barea's great play is a key reason why Northeastern is enjoying an excellent season. The team is now 13-7 overall, and 9-2 in America East conference competition.
In January, Barea was named one of 19 finalists for the 2005 Bob Cousy award. With his play this season, he's right up there with Vermont forward Taylor Coppenrath as the best player in the conference. It's one or the other.
A big bonus for Barea this season has been the coaching of Ron Everhart. One of the NCAA's best at taking programs that are down in the dumps and turning them into success stories, Everhart has helped groom Barea's game for college success and especially beyond. Everhart has taken Northeastern, a team that was literally almost at the bottom of the RPI rankings, and transformed them into a quality, respectable team with a winning present and an even better future.
Another great story at Northeastern this season is the emergence of newcomer Shawn James. The freshman forward is second in all of Division 1 basketball in blocked shots with 5.4 per game (Deng Gai at Fairfield is first with 5.9 bpg). No one is even close to those two players in the category, as the third best is Kyle Hanes (N.C. Greensboro) with 4.0 bpg. James is doing this in limited minutes. He's also averaging 8.6 points on 55% shooting, while grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game. And James hasn't even fully adjusted to college hoops yet. But he blocks shots like he's Kevin Garnett guarding high school kids.
As for Barea, he's on the NBA radar. Keep an eye on him while he's still at Northeastern, because his next stop is the pros.