Elijah Barnes, Mater Dei Prep Senior, Signs with Princeton University

Basketball star will suit up for the Division 1 school in the fall

On Monday, Nov. 14, Mater Dei Prep senior Elijah Barnes proudly signed to play basketball on the college level at Princeton University.

“Elijah going to Princeton is a dream come true,” said his father, Robert Barnes. According to Robert, the goal for Elijah was always to attend a Division 1 school and he is happy Mater Dei Prep and head coach Ben Gamble could help make that happen.

“When we came to Mater Dei Prep we were looking for a great high school,” explained Robert, adding that they also found a home. “Mater Dei Prep makes us feel like (part of) a family. Elijah loves the school, faculty and his coach.”

Elijah was an integral part of the 2015-16 Mater Dei Prep team that won the Shore Conference for the first time in the history of the school with an exciting comeback victory. Coach Gamble spoke highly of Elijah on signing day. “Elijah made a life decision and I am proud of him,” he said. “I am so happy for Elijah, his family and Mater Dei Prep.”

Coach Gamble understands that Mater Dei Prep “sets the bar high” for both academic and athletic standards. He appreciates the foundation the school gives all students: “The academic environment is great and the support is available if help is needed.”

Elijah has followed the same college preparatory path all Mater Dei Prep students follow, and knows that will serve him well at Princeton. “Academically, Mater Dei Prep showed me how to use my knowledge in life,” he said. Everyone here has “pushed me to do better. I am excited to be able to be part of a great program at Princeton. People come there from all over the world and are the best at what they do.”

“We are all very proud of Elijah and what he has accomplished on the court and, more specifically, in the classroom,” said Dennis Tobin, Mater Dei Prep athletic director and assistant principal. “Elijah is a role model for all our student-athletes.”

After the signing, Elijah offered some insight into things he learned on the court at Mater Dei Prep, as well as in the classroom. This school “made me realize that in basketball, teamwork trumps all,” said Elijah. He hopes to carry that philosophy to the next level at Princeton. He also acknowledged the help of everyone around him to get to this point in his life with a “special thanks to my parents, Coach Gamble and Mater Dei Prep.”

For more information about Mater Dei Prep athletic programs, please call 732.671.9100 or visit materdeiprep.org. Registration is now open for Mater Dei Prep’s next Open House on Nov. 17. Please visit materdeiprep.org to register today.