Duncanville Sophomore Cameron Barnes Says Injuries Changed His Approach To Basketball

Cameron Barnes
Cameron Barnes Photo provided by Duncanville ISD Picture taken by Camarion Johnson

Cameron Barnes Spotlight

Sometimes the road to glory is paved with pain.

Perhaps no one knows this better than Duncanville Panthers sophomore Cameron
Barnes. So when it came his turn to hug this season’s Class 6A state championship trophy
a few weeks ago, it’s understandable if he was hesitant to let it go.

Entering the summer of 2019 Barnes was all set to join the Panthers, who were
coming off a Class 6A state championship a few months earlier. Ranked among the top 25
young prospects in the entire nation, Barnes and his new teammates were ready for a
repeat run.

Then came a shoulder injury, the first of two, in fact. His joining the Panthers would
be delayed until November after having surgery in June. Still plenty of time to establish
himself and help the team to a second straight title.

“I had a few weeks of bed rest and then to rehab for four months,” Barnes said.

Fate, however, had other plans – in the form of a deadly virus. Barnes and the
Panthers made it back to state, but there would be no hoisting of a trophy – for them or
anyone else as the tournament was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was hard because of all the work we put in the whole year,” Barnes recalled. “We
were ready to win, and then they gave us the call that we had to go back to school. All the
schools started shutting down. It was crazy.”

Fighting Through The Pain Fueled By Determination

All of which made him more determined than ever to reach his goal of helping the
Panthers win state.

“I was very determined. During the quarantine I got better. I got stronger,” he said.

Remember, he had two shoulder injuries. The second occurred in August of 2020 in
Amateur Athletic Union Tournament. This time he was out until joining the team in January.

But when he did return, he played a key role in the Panthers getting back to state –
and this time there was no cancelation. They repeated as state champions – albeit with a
void last year – and Barnes not only reinforced faith in his skills on the court, but also proof
of his character, Duncanville coach David Peavy said.

“Cam is a super high character kid. Really learning how to work hard, how to fight
through pain has been an issue, but the sky is the limit for him,” Peavy said. “Shoulder
surgery is rough – it is very painful. Doing it early in his career will make him really tough.
“Cam did his job. He’s a young kid, but he’s got a lot in him. He’s going to be in the
NBA some day.”

Barnes said his shoulders are good and stable now, though he still has a long way to
go before being back to 100%.

“I’m getting stronger every day,” he said.

And he had no problem whatsoever lifting that precious trophy.

“It was like a release to have that burden off our backs. At the same time it was fun,
all smiles everywhere,” he said.

Barnes said the injuries helped him look at the game basketball differently.

“Seeing how I fit in, the things I can do to help the team, it felt really good to be back
on the court,” he said, adding, “I had some good games, but I don’t think I’ve had my best
game yet.”

Getting Stronger & Staying Healthy With His Eyes On The Future

Now, as he has already started preparing for the 2021-22 season, his goals include
getting stronger, being in better shape, and staying healthy. And he’s already thinking about where he would like to play in college – after hopefully helping the Panthers to another title or two.

“I’m from Kansas, so my family really grew up on KU. It’s one of my top places I’d like
to go,” he said.

Others in his top three choices are Tennessee and North Carolina.

Peavy said Barnes’ determination also set an example for the rest of the Panthers.

“They have a lot of respect for him,” Peavy said. “They’ve seen the hard work he’s
done to get back on the court and the pain he had to endure.”

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters