Dynamic duo: Twin sons of NBA veteran Matt Barnes impress as Section 7 standouts with teamwork, talent

Isaiah Barnes takes pride in his father’s mentorship, rooted in 14 years of NBA playing experience. (Photo by Shirell Washington/Cronkite News)

Former NBA veteran Matt Barnes provides mentorship that has been crucial in shaping the mental toughness and on-court performance of his twin sons, Carter and Isaiah. (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

Celts point guard Carter Barnes goes up for the layup against Lincoln High School on Saturday at the Section 7 Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Shirell Washington/Cronkite News)

Crespi Carmelite High School Carter (20) and Isaiah (24) Barnes scores 36 combined points at the Section 7 Basketball Tournament in Glendale at State Farm Stadium on Saturday. (Photo by Shirell Washington/Cronkite News)

GLENDALE – The recent Section 7 Basketball Tournament at State Farm Stadium showcased the top high school talent in the West, and that included the twins son of a 14-year NBA veteran. Carter and Isaiah Barnes, incoming sophomores from Crespi Carmelite High School (Encino, California), are the offspring of Matt Barnes, whose experience and mentorship have shaped their performances on the court.

“He’s preached so much to us. He’s preached mental toughness, defense, offense, consistency, body language, even playing without the ball,” Isaiah said Saturday about his father. “For this, it’s out of state. Big crowd. A lot of people trying to get in your head, but he always said, ‘Tune it out, don’t let them get in your head.’”

This advice has proved invaluable as the Barnes twins tuned out the noise to excel during the three-day competition, which features 400 boys and girls teams from the West and draws the attention of more than 500 college coaches from all levels. Carter and Isaiah scored a combined 39 points against Lincoln High School in helping Crespi storm through the 16-team Mayo Clinic Bracket, but the Celts needed a come-from-behind win against Canyon High School to cap off the weekend undefeated in their fourth and final game.

Carter Barnes has played on the same team with his twin brother, Isaiah, since they were four years old. (Photo by <a href="https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/people/shirell-washington/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Shirell Washington</a>/Cronkite News)

Carter Barnes has played on the same team with his twin brother, Isaiah, since they were four years old. (Photo by Shirell Washington/Cronkite News)

“Playing with someone who looks like you, can sometimes play like you, it’s a great feeling,” Carter said.“We’ve been doing it since we were four years old. Never been on a different team so it’s great.”

Carter, a point guard, thrives off of his teamwork and determination to make everyone around him better. He takes pride in keeping his teammates motivated and being a tough defender against some of the best offensive players he faces. As a freshman on the varsity team, he averaged 7.3 points, 1.2 assists and 1.2 rebounds.

Isaiah, a shooting guard, is known for being fast on his feet, and his shooting accuracy is a step above the rest with his ability to pull up from anywhere on the court. He averaged 8.5 points, 1.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds last season as a freshman.

“I think it’s great. But these coaches need to know that we are a package deal. One ain’t going anywhere without the other. They got to know that,” Isaiah said about the relationship with his brother. “We’ve got similar play styles, but we are very different at the same time. You’ve got to play us differently and you’ve got to guard us differently.”

Their father’s emphasis on mental toughness has proven to be the driving force behind their success. Matt’s no-quit approach in preparing his sons has created a focus and confidence that’s hard to crack on the court.

Celts shooting guard Isaiah Barnes and his brother are a package deal; "One ain't going anywhere without the other." - Isaiah Barnes (Photo by Shirell Washington/Cronkite News)

Celts shooting guard Isaiah Barnes and his brother are a package deal; “One ain’t going anywhere without the other.” – Isaiah Barnes. (Photo by Shirell Washington/Cronkite News)

It’s the same competitive drive that led him throughout his career. The NBA journeyman played for nine teams in 14 seasons. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2 assists in 929 games, ending his NBA career by winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2017.

“This game is 90% mental. Even when you continue to get better, everyone else is getting better,” Matt said. “What can separate you is having that mental capacity. Your ability to handle adversity. Your ability to handle success. I’m really big on both my sons about mental toughness.”

Carter and Isaiah know that basketball can take them far in life, and even if the NBA is not in their future, the skills learned from Matt and the game itself can transfer to other aspects of life. However, their shared determination to be the best high school players in the country makes the twins stand out above the rest, as witnessed this past weekend at State Farm Stadium.

“Every time we are in the court together, we keep each other accountable. When he drops his head, I pick it back up. When I drop mine, he picks me back up,” Carter said. “It’s definitely great to have someone there for you like that.”

Dylan Slager(he/him)
Sports Digital Reporter, Phoenix

Dylan Slager expects to graduate in December 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. He is seeking his first internship in the fall.

Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Shirell Washington expects to graduate in August 2024 with a master’s degree in sports journalism. Washington has worked for Virginia Wesleyan University Athletic Communications and Arizona State University Stream Team.