If we could ask University of Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes a question it should be about how the graduate of San Diego’s Mission Bay High built the program at UofA to the point where it could beat NCAA title factory UCONN in the 2021 Final Four semifinals.
FOR WRITEUP OF AARI MCDONALD AND WHY WE THOUGHT SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN, CLICK HERE.
But we do California state high school records and our question would be much different to her: “Did you really block 1,112 shots during your high school career?”
Barnes was a player we followed during her high school years at Mission Bay and she was selected to the 1994 all-state team as a senior, which was hard to do for that season since that was the year there were three undefeated CIF state championship teams — Brea Olinda (Brea), Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) and El Camino (Sacramento).
At the time, she wasn’t reported as a player who was blocking an average of 10 shots or more per game over the course of four straight seasons. Several years later, though, her name popped up in the CIF San Diego Section record book with the total of 1,112 career blocked shots. It still appears there with that total and it also shows up as the current National High School Federation record. Her high school info isn’t mentioned in her UofA bio but that record total is on her Wikipedia page.
We list her career blocked shots in our state records, but there’s an an asterisk because we frankly don’t believe it and instead think it’s likely her career rebounds were just put in mistakenly somewhere in the process.
*Note: Season-by-season totals not available. We would assume based on career total that at least one of Barnes’ season totals (and possibly three of them) would be more than the highest season blocked shot total that we have in our records. Our hunch is that the 1,112 number from the San Diego Section record book is due to a mistake. Barnes was a great player at Mission Bay (named to our 1994 all-state team) and later played for many years in the WNBA, but that shot block total wasn’t in the San Diego record book in any years when we did printed state record books from 1995 to 2008. We also believe the listed No. 2 career total from the San Diego records — Shawn Wilcox of Westview with 923 from 2003 to 2006 — also is an error.
Barnes’ best player for the Wildcats, guard Aari McDonald, doesn’t have a possible incorrect total from her high school career, but simply missing totals.
Aari is from California as well and was on Cal-Hi Sports all-state teams for all four of her high school seasons. Her only mention in the state record book is for a game in which she picked up 20 steals. Her career totals have been more difficult to determine, but are coming into focus.
The reason for those missing totals is because McDonald had three different coaches and went to two different schools during her high school career. She grew up in Fresno and was a scoring fiend as a freshman at Bullard of Fresno during the 2013 season. She went to Brookside Christian in Stockton for her final three years and at Brookside we know she didn’t play as a sophomore due to being ineligible. There was a coaching change after her sophomore season with Pico Wilburn taking over for Que Ngo and coach Wilburn has provided us with Aari’s junior and senior year stats.
We’ll continue to look for Aari’s freshman year totals from Bullard, but with having to sit out that one year it’s not likely she’ll have any state record book qualifying totals.