Hottest Shooter in America
The accuracy of big numbers is unavailable mere days into the 2014-2015 season, so identifying the best shooter is impossible. It is not however impossible to affix a tag of Hottest Shooter in America.
That title deservedly goes to Taylor Barnette of Belmont University. ACC fans might remember Barnette signing with Virginia out of Lexington, Kentucky two years back. He played a single year for the Cavaliers before deciding to find a new college home.
“I was not worried,” said Barnette. “This is a great place for me.”
Belmont will get three years out of Barnette and only OVC opponents are uncomfortable with the basketball court”ship”.
Barnette was implausibly efficient again Wednesday night. Entering the game with eight made three-pointers he hit 7-9 including five straight to open the second half.
On the season Barnette is shooting 68.2% from behind the line and making an average of 5.0 bombs per game.
Teammate Bradshaw expects Barnette to be really, really good by the time he becomes a senior in two years. Bradshaw might have been underestimating the swiftness of Barnette’s ascent.
“Of course it is fun,” said Coach Byrd. “We recruit shooters and when one of the guys is having a night like this is great to watch. About six years ago we had a guy who hit nine shots in a row and on the tenth one he was falling out of bounds and fouled and it went it because it was going to go in. And Taylor was having a night like that.”
Barnette hit four outside shots in 132 seconds against an admittedly inferior Trevecca Nazarene University. A talent deficiency does not account for Barnette’s dead-eye though. He was hitting shots with one foot between him and the defender. The lefty flicked his arms with a magician’s quickness. No guard in the nation was stopping him this week.
“I have confidence that every shot is going in, but a lot of that is because of the ball movement,” said Barnette. “We have so many guys executing and helping me find space.”
Late in the game Barnette hit a triple over the extended arms of 6’10” Devonte’ Neal. As he watched the ball drop through the cylinder Neal simply shook his head. Nothing could be done.
Did Barnette shoot this well during practices last year while redshirting?
“Nobody shoots that well,” said Coach Byrd. “He is a great shooter. He did light us up a few times last year in practice, but I would call Taylor a game shooter. If you took his shooting from practice he might be the fifth best on the team, but when he gets out on the floor for games he plays like this.”
Western Kentucky University gets to endure the red hot transfer when Belmont crosses the state line for Kentucky Saturday night. Game time is 7:00 PM Central.