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Charles Barton joins Timberwolves' Wall of Honour

Charles Barton was named to UNBC Timberwolves Wall of Honour.
PGC barton
Charles Barton

Basketball player Charles Barton has been added to the University of Northern British Columbia's Timberwolves Wall of Honour.

The path from Clarence Fulton Secondary School to Prince George wasn’t a direct route, as the Vernon product committed to the TRU WolfPack in 2008 after a tremendous high school career with the Maroons. Playing at the CIS level with the WolfPack, he had modest offensive output, but started 38 games over two seasons and earned minutes for Scott Clark’s program with his defense, athleticism, and attitude. 

After a year away from the game, Barton decided to join his Fulton teammate Joel Rybachuk with the Timberwolves, who has played a key role for UNBC’s 2010 CCAA National Championship. He would have a chance to play a major role for a program heading into its final season of college basketball, before taking the leap to the CIS level.

“Charles and I had played together since Grade 3, and I had been bragging to him that UNBC was a great place to play,” said Rybachuk about his longtime running mate. “We had always wanted to play together after high school, so it was pretty easy to convince him to come. I just told him that I would throw him alley oops.”

Joining a TWolves team that had just bid farewell to program stalwarts Inderbir Gill, Matt Mills, and Sebastien Kevin-Louis, Barton teamed up with the likes of Sam Raphael, Rybachuk, Francis Rowe, and Jose Araujo in the lineup. He averaged 10.4 points per game, while leading the team with 7.2 rebounds per game, and helping the Timberwolves to a 13-3 regular season record. Todd Jordan’s program would continue its winning ways in the playoffs, topping the VIU Mariners 69-61 to win the PacWest Championship. 

“Charles was an absolute freak athlete and he added a dynamic to our wing and forward position that we had never had in my time at UNBC. He versatility and ability to play above the rim was amazing,” said Sam Raphael. “He could come flying in for a ridiculous putback dunk, step out and knock down a timely three, or lock in defensively just as easily. He brought so much to our culture and was a huge reason we won that Provincial title in 2012 as we prepared to make the transition to the CIS.”

2012 would prove to be a historic year for UNBC, as it made the jump to the CIS after 13 years at the collegiate level. Jordan knew the Timberwolves were in for a tremendous challenge, but saw Barton as an ideal leader for a program taking the leap to the highest level of university sport in the country.

“I knew that transition was going to be interesting. Having Charles on our roster was definitely important in helping us through that,” said Jordan. He had played the CIS level before at TRU and he had that athleticism to give any program problems. He worked extremely hard in the offseason to round out his game and become a better shooter. That helped is game a lot, and helped us a ton.”

Despite playing the biggest and best programs in the country, Barton’s smooth skills and quiet intensity translated with great success. He again averaged north of 10 points per game, while hauling in 149 rebounds – good for second most in a season in program history. 

The high-flyer was efficient, as well, making good on 55.6% of his field goal attempts, which had him top-ten in the conference, while making a stunning 45.6% of his looks from beyond the arc. That rate set a UNBC record, while putting him top-three in the conference and top-ten in the country.

“Chuck could really make it look easy. His scoring was such a mix of hard-earned points and easy ‘let the game come to you’ buckets in transition,” said teammate Daniel Stark. “He could battle for a bucket, but he could really get his under the radar, and he would step up when he needed him to. Plus, he is one of UNBC’s all-time athletes, so if you forgot where he could take off from, you’d find yourself underneath an insane highlight reel dunk. He added a ton of swagger to this little blue-collar team from the North.”

Those highlight reel plays became the stuff of legend at the Northern Sport Centre, as Barton quickly became a fan favourite for his ability to make the impossible seem possible. 

“Charles was an underrated shooter, and he could stretch the floor really well. It made it hard for other teams to guard us,” said point guard, Billy Cheng. “But he had that deadly first step and he could just literally jump higher than others. That’s hard to stop. It’s pretty unstoppable when you can throw it up and he can go get it, battle in the air, and finish.”

Barton saved his best for last in his senior season; the 2013-2014 campaign. The TWolves had graduated major contributors Raphael, Rybachuk, Rowe, and Araujo, so the year was about establishing an upward trajectory for the program. 

Playing with a youthful roster, the Timberwolves’ leader stepped up on and off the court. Between the lines, he played 30 minutes per game and scored 330 points, averaging 15.0 points per game to lead the team and finish top-ten in the conference in scoring. 

“We knew that year was going to be tough, with so much roster turnover. But he was such a good leader and set such a great tone for us,” said Jordan. “That entire year, he did so much to help us build a foundation for years to come. He was a major piece of the puzzle when he arrived in helping us win a championship, but he really helped us be competitive our first couple years after the jump to Canada West. He did a lot of things well, and he could really put the ball in the hole.”

Beyond offensive production, his 159 rebounds led the Timberwolves, were good for top-ten in Canada West, and – again – etched his name in the UNBC record books. He also was top-ten in the conference with 37 three-pointers made, and was rightfully named the team’s Most Outstanding Player and UNBC Male Athlete of the Year at season’s end.

Off the court, Barton was first in line to help out with Special Olympics, youth programs, or paying a visit to the hospital to deliver tickets to excited supporters.

“Some of his above-the-rim plays live in my mind in the conversation for the best highlights we have ever had from a UNBC Basketball player,” said Jordan, “but Charles is also an extremely high-character guy. He embodies what we want a UNBC student-athlete to represent. As a player, as a community member, and as an alumnus. He is, without a doubt, one of our all-time Timberwolves.”

Despite playing just three seasons in Green & Gold, Barton’s contributions are clear when looking at UNBC’s record books. He sits top-ten in points scored and points per game, and concluded his career top-three in rebounds with an impressive 423 boards. 

To the fan sitting in the NSC bleachers, the name Charles Barton may elicit memories of a game-opening alley-oop or a dagger three pointer. But to the players who suited up in Timberwolves colours alongside Barton, his legacy is one of teamwork, commitment, and legacy.

“For such a killer on the court, Chuck is a sweetheart. I met him and felt intimidated-as-hell because he was this talented-as-hell, handsome-as-hell high-flyer,” said Daniel Stark. “Then I talked to him and realized he is kind-as-hell and funny-as-hell. He is one of the best teammates I ever had. On and off the court. The relationship came first and the game came second. That translated so well because there was no ego and a just a ton of chemistry because of Charles Barton. He was that friend you go to battle with. He deserves to be on the Wall of Honour.”