SIGNING — Brittany Barnard inks her Letter of Intent to play basketball at Purdue Northwest.
Herald Photo/Jenn Goad
SIGNING — Brittany Barnard inks her Letter of Intent to play basketball at Purdue Northwest. Herald Photo/Jenn Goad

Brittany and Anthony Barnard have walked through life side-by-side. The fraternal twins have been partners, teammates, and each other’s cheerleader from the beginning. 

Now, as they take the next step in their journey, they signed their National Letters of Intent to play basketball at Purdue Northwest.

“We’ve always talked about going to the same college, and it would be so cool if we could play together. Turns out, it was an option, and we said we should go for it,” said Anthony.

Brittany agreed with Anthony. 

“I think it’s really cool, us going to school together,” Brittany said. “We kind of wanted to before, but we didn’t think it would happen. I think it’s cool how it all fell together.”

Both athletes are known to be leaders, and both are known to work as hard after practice as they did during practice. For Brittany, the 6’2” wing shows great versatility in the roles she plays on the floor. 

“She’s in the gym all the time. She’ll do whatever you need to get done,” said Kokomo High School Girls Basketball Coach Troy White. “She can play inside out. She has a complete game. You don’t see too many 6’2” players that can handle the ball. Her length is very valuable for our team.”

So far this season, Brittany is averaging 21 points per game and 8.13 rebounds per game. She has put up three double-doubles as of press time. That type of command on the court is one that is noticed by her teammates, according to White. 

“If you see one of your best players spending time after practice working on their craft, it spreads to the rest of the team,” he said. “She’s a natural leader.”

White said that Brittany’s appearance can be misleading to the opposing team. She’s tall and long, so many believe she will play in the post or center position. She shocks the opposition by being able to handle the ball and shoot around the perimeter.

“I think the first game, they were a little surprised, but now, throughout the state, they know she’s a shooter. The word is out. When we’re running plays, I can see them talking because they know she can shoot outside,” White said.

Purdue Northwest wasn’t on her radar early, but after Anthony visited the college and talked about her skills, they were interested in learning more about her skill set.

“Being very flexible on the court has definitely helped. I can play any position the coach needs me to play,” Brittany said. “I need to work on my shot and getting stronger to play at the next level, and I hope to play early when I get there.”

In a press release announcing five players who will be joining the women’s team at Purdue Northwest, head coach Tom Megyesi said the incoming class is extremely talented and will help the program transition into a full Division II program. He said Brittany has the size and versatility that will help the team compete at the DII level.

Anthony has been told he will contribute early to the men’s team up north, and that was one of the most appealing aspects of choosing Purdue Northwest. 

“That was really big for me,” he said. “Ever since I was little, my parents always got me involved with basketball. It has been my dream to play at the next level, just keep growing from there. I always worked as hard as I could and put as much time in as I can, and hopefully those dreams will come through.”

Kokomo Boys Coach Bob Wonnell said, “He shows up every day, works really hard, has a good attitude, never complains, really easy to coach.”

Wonnell said he was impressed with Anthony’s versatility as well, saying he’s every bit of a 6’6” frame yet able to move. Anthony is capable of guarding every position from point guard to post.

Anthony said it was a relief to make the commitment prior to the season so he could go out and play ball without having to worry about what was coming next.

“I’m stoked about this season, I can’t wait to get out there. It’s an honor being part of the Kats. Tradition runs so deep,” he said.

The Barnards’ mother was a member of the Kokomo Lady Kats’ back-to-back State Championship teams in the 1990s, and Anthony credits her with being a big reason why he plays basketball.

“It always made me want to play here because she had a lot of success,” he said.

Former Coach Matt Moore said, “Anthony has been a player that has continued to develop each aspect of his game year by year. I feel his best basketball is ahead of him and could be a great small college basketball player with his versatility and IQ. He was one of my favorite players to coach because he was so eager to learn and apply.”

That eagerness to grow and improve was noticed immediately by Wonnell when he took over the Wildkat program in May.

“Since I met him, we’ve seen some growth in his play-making and decision making as a ball handler. I think his role in those capacities will be significant for us. He will have to be a little bit of everything for us. I envision him carrying a heavy scoring load and rebounding load for us. He’s got to take and make a lot of perimeter shots, but he’s also got to command the glass,” said Wonnell.

The Wildkats kicked off its delayed season on Tuesday against Western, after the State run of boys football.