Position-less basketball is more relevant than ever in today's landscape. The ideal player can defend across multiple positions and score both inside and out. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Ben Simmons and Paul George all fit this mold, which makes them some of the most valuable players in the NBA. You can add Florida State Seminoles' Scottie Barnes to the list.
Barnes--a 6-foot-8 draft prospect who projects as a wing or power forward--glides up and down the court. He thrives driving downhill to the rim, finishing through defenders with finesse. But he's at his most dangerous in transition. When he comes down with a rebound, he takes it all the way to the hoop or finds the open teammate with a hawk-like court vision. The aspect of his game that really separates Barnes is his intensity. His motor is always running, and he never takes a possession off.
He's expected to be selected in the first 10 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft, and he could become the highest-drafted Seminole of all time depending how things shake up. The question begs, though: Will Barnes become the best FSU player in NBA history?
Scottie Barnes High School
Barnes attended Cardinal Newman High School in his hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida, as a freshman before transferring to NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale for his sophomore and junior seasons.
There, he was teammates with Duke's Vernon Carey Jr. The Florida State recruit left NSU University School for heralded basketball factory Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, to finish his high school career. He played alongside fellow lottery pick Cade Cunningham in high school.
Even as a recruit, Scottie's highlights showcased his body control and athleticism when attacking the rim. Barnes took part in the 43rd McDonald's All-American Game in 2020 alongside the likes of No. 1 overall recruit Evan Mobley and Auburn's Sharife Cooper.
Scottie Barnes FSU
Barnes chose the Florida State Seminoles over Kentucky, Oregon, Miami, Ohio State and Kansas. He took official visits to Oregon and Ohio State before choosing Florida State. Head coach Leonard Hamilton couldn't have been more thrilled, because Barnes made an impact right away as one of the most talented players in college basketball.
Scottie Barnes' time in Tallahassee was short, however.
Barnes had a fantastic one-and-done regular season with Florida State basketball as expected. The point guard won ACC Freshman of the Year, ACC Sixth Man of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-ACC Tournament team.
If you haven?t seen Scottie Barnes, tune into espn. 5 star freshman stud for FSU pic.twitter.com/8llX1h8jhU
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) December 10, 2020
The scorer averaged more than 10 points, four rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He helped the Seminoles reach the third round of the NCAA tournament. After defeating North Carolina-Greensboro and Colorado, the No. 4-seeded Seminoles fell to the Final Four-bound Michigan Wolverines.
They defeated Georgia Tech, Louisville and Indiana but lost to Notre Dame during the regular season. Barnes played multiple positions off the bench, of course, from power forward to point guard. His versatility is part of why he's a lock for a first-round draft pick.
Scottie Barnes NBA Draft
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— Florida State Men?s Basketball (@FSUHoops) July 24, 2021
ESPN has Barnes going at No. 6 in the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery. The Ringer agrees, adding that Barnes will land with the young Oklahoma City Thunder. Others believe he'll be selected fifth overall to the Orlando Magic or even fourth to the Toronto Raptors.
No Seminole has ever been drafted higher than No. 4. Dave Cowans was drafted fourth in 1970, and Patrick Williams was taken with the same pick last year.
If Barnes wants to become FSU's best player in NBA history, he's got some competition. For starters, Cowans is a NBA Hall of Famer who was an eight-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics. Then there's Sam Cassell, who won three NBA titles and averaged more than 15 points per game over a long career.
As Barnes ascends levels of competition, expect him to build on his game as another position-less force.
Scottie Barnes cemented himself as an FSU legend is just one year, and don't be surprised if he ends up being the steal of the 2021 NBA Draft.