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The Dagger

Antonio Barton will announce his choice Sunday, and all four of his suitors need him badly

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Antonio Barton (Getty Images)

Earlier this week, former Memphis big man Tarik Black revealed he'll transfer to Kansas for the 2013-14 season. Now the other impact Tigers transfer appears to be on the verge of announcing where he will play his final season of college basketball.

Point guard Antonio Barton will choose between Maryland, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Kansas State after church on Sunday afternoon, brother Will Barton tweeted Tuesday night. Barton is on pace to graduate from Memphis this summer and would be eligible to play immediately at his new school.

There's no mystery why Barton chose to leave Memphis: he's in search of more playing time. The 6-foot-2 Baltimore native averaged a career-low 16.7 minutes per game off the bench last season as he was surpassed in the Memphis rotation by fellow guards Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford, each of whom are expected to return to the Tigers next season.

It's unclear which of Barton's potential choices should be considered the front runner entering Sunday's announcement, but the one thing each of the schools he has visited has in common is ample playing time available at point guard.

Maryland has been in search of a point guard since Pe'Shon Howard decided to transfer earlier this spring, leaving only sophomore Seth Allen and incoming freshman Roddy Peters with any experience at the position. The Terrapins could be an appealing option for Barton because of the proximity to Barton's hometown of Baltimore and the presence of close friend Nick Faust on the roster.

Tennessee and Kansas State are even more desperate for a point guard than Maryland as a result of the key departures earlier this spring. Angel Rodriguez's surprise transfer in late April deprived the Wildcats of an all-conference point guard, while Trae Golden's dismissal earlier this month leaves the Vols without a single true point guard on their roster.

The connection with Texas A&M stems from associate head coach Glynn Cyprien, who helped recruit both Barton brothers to Memphis. When Cyprien left for Texas A&M after the 2010-11 season, Will Barton expressed his disappointment, first tweeting "Coach Cyp u said u wouldn't" and later adding "That's my guy. I'm happy 4 him just sad."

So in reality, there's reason for all four schools to feel as though they have a realistic shot of landing Barton. On Sunday, he'll reveal which one gets its wish.

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