By Rubin E. Grant
Sarah Ashlee Barker tries to go where God wants her.
When Barker, the 2020 Alabama Miss Basketball, signed with Georgia out of Spain Park High School, she said she was following the leading of the Lord. And now that she’s transferring to the University of Alabama after two seasons with the Bulldogs, she once again said God is behind her decision.
Barker signed with Alabama last week after entering the transfer portal following Georgia women’s coach Joni Taylor’s departure to become the head coach at Texas A&M. Taylor had recruited Barker.
“I came to Georgia 100 percent because of her,” Barker said in a phone interview. “I don’t regret my decision. But God opens other doors and I believe God is leading me to Alabama.”
Barker considered following Taylor to Texas A&M but decided she wanted to be closer to home and play for Alabama coach Kristy Curry.
“I love coach Curry,” Barker said. “She’s doing good things at Alabama and she wants to take the next step to get Alabama to the top of the SEC. I have a good relationship with her, so it was time to come home.”
Barker, a 6-foot guard, will finish the semester at Georgia and report to Alabama in June. She will be a junior for the Crimson Tide.
As a sophomore this past season, Barker averaged 7.7 points, 4 rebounds and 2.4 assists, playing in 31 games for the Bulldogs. In her first season, she earned a spot on the 2020-21 SEC All-Freshman Team and was twice named the league’s freshman of the week, playing in 24 games and averaging 5.1 points and 2.7 rebounds.
“We are so proud and excited to welcome Sarah Ashlee Barker home to Alabama,” Curry said in a release. “She has the two most important qualities that we look for in a player that you can’t coach, and that is heart and hustle. Those attributes truly make her special as a competitor and a teammate.
“She will bring such valuable SEC experience to our program, which will translate to her making an immediate impact within every aspect of our program. Our Alabama women’s basketball family just gained a truly special person. Welcome home, SA!”
Barker was selected the Alabama Sports Writers Association 2020 Miss Basketball after averaging 23.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals as a senior and leading Spain Park to the Class 7A state championship. She was named MVP of the Class 7A tournament along with being selected the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year and the MaxPreps Player of the Year.
She also was the 2020 OTMJ Player of the Year and a three-time ASWA all-state selection as well as the 2019 Class 7A Player of the Year.
Barker scored 2,222 points and collected 1,107 rebounds during her career at Spain Park, helping the Jaguars win two state championships, in 2018 and 2020.
Barker is the daughter of former Alabama quarterback Jay Barker. Her older brother Braxton Barker will be a graduate assistant football coach this fall after spending the past four seasons as a backup quarterback for the Tide.
“Braxton texted me congratulations and said he was glad I was coming to Alabama,” Sarah Ashlee Barker said. “My whole family is happy I’m coming home.”
Barker’s twin brother, Harrison Barker, is a backup quarterback at UAB, which also factored into her decision to transfer closer to home.
“If I had transferred to Texas A&M and he started playing in some games for UAB, I wouldn’t have been able to see him play,” Sarah Ashlee Barker said. “Now, if he gets to play, I can go see him.”