Will Barnes is a 25 year old 185cm point guard from Tuscaloosa, Alabama that is playing his rookie season in Germany for Pro A team Finke Baskets. He started his basketball career in 2006 for Tennessee Tech (NCAA) where he played a total of 98 NCAA games. Last season he played at Lee (NAIA) playing 34 games: 20.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 50.3%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 77.7%. He is having a very strong rookie season for Paderborn and spoke to German Hoops after the 107-96 loss to Cuxhaven where he had a career high 43 points.
Will, a tough 107-96 loss to Cuxhaven. How quickly do you forget an amazing individual performance like your 43 points and nine assists when you lose the game?
I immediately get over the individual performance and focus on the next game. What I take with me is the confidence. Knowing that in certain situations I can step up individually and make plays. I don’t celebrate personally if we don’t win.
Can it get any worse than starting down 19-0. Do you remember ever a game in college where you had your backs to the wall so early? What were the main reasons for the poor team start?
No, our start was horrific. As a team we didn’t play any defense in the first quarter. We just have to focus on starting the game strong more than ever before. We’ve had bad starts the last 3 games.
Paderborn got back into the game and was down by only six points in the second quarter, but was trailing 50-40 at halftime. What adjustments did the team have to make it get back into the game?
Changing to zone sparked our run to cut into the lead. We made the switch then immediately went on a run to cut into the lead.
You only had 10 points at halftime. How were you feeling? Now looking back, did you think that you could heat up the way you did as you stepped on the floor in the third quarter?
I felt the need to step up at halftime because we were down 10. I knew if we wanted to win the game, I had to step up. I didn’t expect to get as hot but it proved very beneficial as we cut into the lead.
You scored 24 points in the fourth quarter rally a point total that some players never achieve ever in a single game. Was that the best quarter of shooting you ever had or did you have some games like that at Lee(NAIA) last season?
The 24 point 4th quarter is definitely the most I’ve ever had. I remember getting hot in a few games last year but not like last night! I was in the zone and hungry for a win.
You were the go to guy, but despite 43 points also made nine assists. That was like a Monta Ellis type stat game. That was the most assists that you got this season. Is it a big adjustment when you are in the zone, but then still have the ability to make those quick smart decisions for finding the better positioned player for the basket?
Not so much because I am naturally a point guard. Our style of play and roster has me playing mostly the 2 position. I am good at making those decisions while also being aggressive.
Did you notice that young German Maximilian Kuhle had his best game of the season steering 34 points? What was your impression of his game. Paderborn shot very well, but allowed 107 points. The club has allowed an average of 95 points in the last four games. Has the club lost some of their defensive principles? What things does the team need to improve to let up fewer points in the future?
No, I did not realize he had such a good game. He’s a good player & Cuxhaven has a tough team. Great athletes. Our defensive principles are always the main focus. As a team we just have to step up and get the stops and finish with a rebound!
The Pro A season is almost over and your having a very good rookie year. You already found that scoring touch early in the season and held it until now. How happy have you been with your season and is there anything that you would like to have done better?
My rookie season has been a learning process on the fly. I had to learn how to adjust to the European game, style of play, and officiating as we went along. It definitely has helped me individually. I wish it led to more wins for our team this year though. We’ve got a lot of tight games that were decided by a small margin. I felt like I should’ve played more of a leadership role but it was difficult with me coming in as a rookie and learning.
You played together with guard Anthony Fischer and forward Kevin Murphy. What were you able to learn from Fischer on the court and what amazing play do you remember Murphy doing in a game at Tennessee Tech?
Yes! Playing with Anthony Fisher helped me tremendously. He showed me how to play point guard at a high level. Showed me that hard work was the only way to succeed. I learned a lot from him in my first 2 years at Tech. Murphy was great as well. He was a freshman when I played with him and I noticed his talent early on. The work ethic and commitment is what set him apart.
Did you watch the winter Olympics at Sochi? What was your Olympic highlight?
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to keep up with the winter games!
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD I watched was “The Boondocks” seasons 1-3! It’s a hilarious show!
Thanks Will for the chat.