HAMPTON, Va. – Scottie Barnes is fully aware of the cliché hoops notion that says in order to fully focus on the court a player must have a short-term memory; whether you turn the ball over or drain a heavily contested NBA three-pointer move on and focus on what’s ahead.
Barnes doesn’t buy-in to that concept.
Quite contrarily he’s used a University’s (Fort Lauderdale) 76-58 loss to Montverde (Fla.) in the GEICO Nationals in March as the fuel that’s driven him to a stellar spring with Nike Team Florida.
Barnes’ dominance was on full display Saturday, posting 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in a 70-63 win over All Ohio Red at the Nike EYBL.
“It stays in the back of my mind,” Barnes said of the GEICO Nationals loss. “I learned some valuable lessons in that one.”
Chief among those was to compete relentlessly at all times.
“We didn’t bring the energy as hard as we could have,” Barnes said. “That’s frustrating when I look back on it, but I just use it as a lesson so I won’t let it happen again.”
Barnes’ newfound purpose has paid off big for Team Florida, this season he’s posting 16 points, five rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, despite playing alongside two other five-star players.
That production earned Barnes the No. 4 overall spot in USA Today Sports’ inaugural Chosen 25 player rankings for 2020.
He’s clear about his long-term goal to work his way back to the national title game next year, but, for now, he’s putting his full focus into helping Team Florida qualify for the Nike Peach Jam tournament in July.
Barnes and Co. will have their work cut out for them as the competition intensifies this weekend with berths on the line.
“We just have to come out and play with a lot of energy,” Barnes said. “That’s what I’ve been working on doing this spring, just hyping my teammates up more and doing the little things. I think if we concentrate on the small stuff we’ll be OK.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY