Scottie Barnes is currently the ninth-ranked prospect in the 2020 high school class and announced last week his senior year will be played at Montverde Academy, where he is likely to replace Precious Achiuwa in a similar role as a big wing.
The six-foot-eight combo forward transfers after a strong summer as part of the United States’ title winning campaign at the U19 FIBA World Championships in Crete. He logged 143 minutes in seven appearances – mostly because he got a lot of action in garbage time while also playing a rotation role in the more competitive parts of these games.
Barnes didn’t have a lot of opportunity to show much of his skillset on offense, logging just 16.6% usage in the tournament – for the most part roaming around for a few catch-and-score finishes (especially in transition), helping facilitate from the elbow to keep things moving, attacking foul line down out of ball reversals and taking the occasional catch-and-shoot midrange jumper.
On the other end, the 210-pounder struggled some with physicality in the post and fighting for rebounding position. He also didn’t stand out as much as some of his teammates in terms of intensity flying around to create events but did show flashes of effectiveness defending the pick-and-roll out in space a couple of different ways.
The just-turned 18-year-old can play above the rim as a target for lobs filling the lanes in transition and figures to be as capable in the half-co urt if given the chance, at least in terms of sneaking behind the defense on cuts and rolls.
He is a so-so screener who hasn’t yet developed advanced techniques to more successfully disrupt on-ball defenders and has a lean frame for someone his height that is not that tough for tenacious bulldogs to navigate around but plants his feet and seeks to draw contact, which is good effort for someone his age, especially considering he’s shown to be a willing screener off the ball too.
Barnes didn’t have any problems catching the ball on the move in this setting and did well with his touch on non-dunk finishes, including on short floaters to score with a rim protector parked between him and the basket – converting on 54.3% of his 46 two-point shots in the World Championships.
On short drives, Barnes flashed a quick first step out of triple threat position and some ability to play through contact. There were glimpses of an in-and-out dribble and he even showed a good deal of dexterity euro-stepping to weave his way through traffic, though there was little to be seen in terms of a pull-up game or a floater package or versatile finishes and he was hit-and-miss in terms of scoring through contact.
Without a lot of opportunity to do anything more than just fit in, the most appealing aspect of his game was probably his passing. The West Palm Beach native showcased pretty good court vision facing the defense out of a standstill position, helping facilitate offense on handoffs, dropping off on the move after engaging the last line of defense and kickout out of short rolls or cuts – assisting on 16.8% of the United States’ scores when he was on the floor.
Barnes didn’t space out to the three-point line in this event – taking just two such attempts in 143 minutes – but took a few catch-and-shoot midrange jumpers. He’s shown to be at least a capable open shot shooter at this point of his development – getting little elevation and taking a pronounced dip for rhythm but fully extending himself for a high release to get his shot off comfortably, though his 65.2% foul shooting on 23 free throws raises doubts over his natural touch.
Barnes acted as a weakside defender for the most part and did a good job in terms of contesting shots with his combination of awareness and activity – running shooters off the line on hard closeouts or generally contesting shots well against quick-triggered shooters and was proactive rotating in to help crowd the area near the basket or make some plays on the ball.
He is a capable two-foot leaper without time or space to load up in order to block some shots stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense or coming across the lane in help defense but didn’t play with the sort of speed needed to make these plays more than just on occasion – averaging 1.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
Barnes struggled a little holding his ground in the post and fighting for rebounding position, though he guarded with his arms up around the basket and was somewhat diligent boxing out whoever was close by. He collected 15.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor, which was an unimpressive mark for someone labeled a big man on this team but not necessarily a killer when you consider the United States had a roster stacked with good guard rebounders.
Barnes impressed the most on defense as a pick-and-roll defender out in space. He showed flashes of smart position defense by moving his feet laterally quickly to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick and using his length to shut down some passes to the roll man – averaging two steals per 40 minutes. When that ball-handler managed to get downhill anyway, Barnes proved himself more than capable of keeping pace foul line down to discourage or block a shot at the rim.
He also switched onto smaller players on a few occasions and showed some appealing potential in these instances. He bent his knees to get down in a stance and though unable to stay in front out on an island, Barnes managed to stay attached more often than not and shadow the ball-handler on his way to the rim – even flashing the ability to block a shot defending on the ball.
 DOB: 7/31/2001
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara