John Barnhill was a born in March 20, 1938 in Sturgis, Kentucky. This 6’1” athlete played as a point guard for the Indiana Pacers in the American Basketball Association. Barnhill’s love for the game was evident early on and together with Porter Meriwether, led the Evansville Lincoln High School team to an undefeated regular season in 1954-1955.
He later attended the Tennessee State University where he played for the college basketball team, Tennessee State University Tigers. They went on to win the 1957,1958, and 1959 NAIA Championships. Barnhill was also a three-time NAIA All-American and their team’s record was 94-8.
In 1959, Barnhill was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks in the National Basketball Association. After four seasons with the Hawks, Barnhill was dealt to the Detroit Pistons in 1966. In 1967, the Baltimore Bullets acquired Barnhill and traded him to the San Diego Rockets the following season in 1968.
In 1969, Barnhill was back playing for his former team Baltimore Bullets, however, he decided to play with the Indiana Pacers in the NBA’s rival ABA in 1970. He was traded to the Denver Rockets in 1971. In 1972, Barnhill once again was playing with the Indiana Pacers in the ABA. In the following years despite offers from the Chicago Bulls, San Diego Rockets and the Phoenix Suns to play in the NBA when the NBA expanded its teams, Barnhill did not play further.
In a total of 589 games that Barnhill played in the NBA and the ABA, he averaged 8.8 points per game, 3.0 assists per game and 1.9 rebounds per game, His career best was 11.7 points per game in the 1962-63 season playing with the St Louis Hawks in the NBA.