It didn’t take long for Andre Noble to realize that Rahmir Barno was a special kind of basketball talent. Barno was a freshman starter for Noble’s Imhotep Charter program, one with a history of sending players to Division I schools.

Barno, listed online at 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds, is now a veteran at Imhotep, in his third season as a starter. With Imhotep marching toward another deep postseason run, and with Barno approaching the critical post-junior-year months when recruits begin taking their official visits, schools have started paying attention to the four-star recruit.

Barno has already garnered interest from three of the City 6 programs -- Drexel, La Salle, and Temple -- and has also drawn offers from Virginia Tech and VCU, among others.

While Division I programs are just starting to tune in to Barno, the Philadelphia native has been a force in the high school scene since he stepped onto the court as a freshman.

“Most people are not surprised by him,” Noble said. “Because although he’s only a junior, he’s been doing this for a while, being effective for a while.”

For much of Barno’s time at Imhotep, he has been one of the smallest players on the floor, and as a freshman and sophomore, he often lacked the same quickness and speed. To make up for the size difference, Barno worked to perfect his basketball IQ. That effort paid off, with Barno labeling his court intelligence as one of the parts of his game that has grown the most since he joined the Panthers.

“My IQ [has improved] for sure…just knowing when to take a shot,” Barno said. “I feel like my passing game and feel for the game has definitely gotten better, like picking my spots, knowing when to make that pass, or how to make a good pass.”

A key factor in Barno’s development has been playing alongside Justin Edwards and Ahmad Nowell. Edwards is a five-star recruit and Pennsylvania’s No. 1 player in the class of 2023 while Nowell is a class of 2024 prospect whose playmaking ability already has him on drawing attention. Barno, along with Edwards, has also led Team Final AAU’s 16-U team.

Playing point guard has taught Barno how to listen to teammates, and with Edwards and Nowell, Barno has learned how to lead an offense with multiple playmakers.

“I feel like I’m not the only person that can make that shot or take that shot or make that play or take that play,” Barno said. “So, it’s definitely good playing with guys with superior talent.

“Just talking to teammates, they’ll tell me certain things, like where they would prefer me to give them the ball, [and] me being able to give feedback back to them is good.”

While Barno has continued to get better at distributing the ball and running the Imhotep offense, he has had this skill set since he was a freshman.

“Elijah Taylor, who was our senior captain for that team, used to say, ‘Hey, I need him in’ if [Barno] was out of the game,” Noble said. “Rah was really good with the ball and really good at setting up our team even at a young age. He has a really good feel even when dealing with some of the bigger, stronger guys.”

Barno helped take that Panthers team to the state quarterfinals before the pandemic unexpectedly cut the season short. While Imhotep didn’t have a state championship to show for that season, it became significant in another way: The team had found its point guard of the future.

Since then, it has become apparent to Noble and the Panthers that Barno is more than just a talented ball distributor. With the point guard position comes an expectation of leadership, both on and off the court. It’s an expectation that Noble has communicated to Barno and one that he is making strides toward.

“He is a calming voice on this team,” Noble said. “He’s found his voice. …The point guard is the leader, so he’s had to, and we’ve encouraged him to talk and communicate more, [saying] ‘This is your team, you have to lead it, not only by what you do on the court, but what you do vocally. ’… He’s gotten better and better with that as he’s gotten older.”

Said Edwards: “He calms me down, calms the team down. When I’m not going, he’ll get me going. Basically, if I’m not going, he’ll call plays for me, talk to me, and say, ‘Everything will be good.’”

Those intangibles have been just as instrumental as Barno’s basketball skills in attracting the attention of college coaches and recruiting analysts alike. 247Sports ranks Barno as the No. 3 player in Pennsylvania and as a top-20 point guard nationally. As Barno prepares to follow in the footsteps of other highly rated Imhotep recruits, he has looked to teammates for guidance.

“[I’ll ask], ‘How did you know that school was right for you,’ [and] I always ask about the visits they took,” Barno said.

Every recruiting process is different, and Barno’s teammates have focused on that when answering his questions.

“Be yourself, don’t let the offers and all that stuff change your work ethic,” Edwards said.

Although Barno’s recruiting has been heating up, for now, his focus has remained on Imhotep. Because of pandemic-shortened seasons, Barno has never been part of a state championship squad. As a result, his focus this year is on helping take the Panthers as far as he can.

“It’s always about Imhotep here,” Barno said. “That’s the main thing that matters, Imhotep winning. So, [my goals are] definitely winning the Public League championship, city championship, and state championship.”