A Tuckerman native, Barnes played basketball for what's now the University of Texas at El Paso before being chosen by the New York Knicks as the first selection in the 1964 NBA draft.
The 6-foot 8-inch Barnes was named to the 1965 All-Rookie team and played seven seasons in the NBA for for five teams - the Knicks, the Baltimore Bullets, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics. He scored 3,997 career points and averaged 8.8 points a game at the professional level.
He averaged 15.5 points per game for the Knicks in the 1964-1965 season while also winning a gold medal as a member of the U.S. team at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Barnes died in September 2002.