Whirlwind Workout Week for Barnes

While your Stanford basketball and football attention is being consumed by recruiting, and your baseball curiosity rising to its annual peak for the postseason, a very compelling individual story is quietly proceeding for Julius Barnes. The Stanford senior point guard has concluded his college career and now is in the thick of a busy schedule as he bids for a spot in the NBA.

This time a year ago, Stanford hoopaholics were feverishly focused on the early NBA entries of then juniors Casey Jacobsen and Curtis Borchardt.  Two years ago Jason Collins was weighing a return to The Farm versus a shot at the pros.  Without any underclassman on the roster taking a look at the Association this spring, the draft discussion has been quiet.  But the activity for Stanford graduating senior Julius Barnes has been anything but quiet, particularly with a busy week of NBA workouts underway currently.

Barnes last week took a Tuesday trip to Denver for a workout with the Nuggets and then drove to Oakland for a Thursday audition with the Golden State Warriors.  This week he has already been to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, the Toronto Raptors yesterday, the Los Angeles Clippers today and the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow.

The busy schedule breaks off just in time for the vaunted NBA invitation camp in Chicago this weekend, though Barnes does not currently have an invite to the event.  "I want to be optimistic, but at the same time realistic.  I may be mid-to-late 2nd round right now," he opines.  The Chicago camp typically extends invitations to those draft prospects who are being considered for 1st round selections by NBA clubs.  In all likelihood, that phone call will not come and Barnes will spend the weekend working out.  "It would be great to have the exposure at an event like that," he notes.  "Just about every team will be there watching.  But I'm getting a good deal of workouts with clubs and I have plenty of work to do."

That work includes daily sessions at the nearby Reikes Center for Human Enhancement in Menlo Park, where he is rejoined with Stanford strength and conditioning coach John Murray.  Barnes is as toned and strong as he's ever been, and was weighed at 187 pounds last week at the Golden State workout.  "The workouts with John [Murray] continue to help," the point guard comments.  "I feel like I'm in great shape."

But physical fitness is just one component of his post-graduate basketball prognosis.  Barnes also explains his mental approach for what he is trying to do during these auditions with NBA clubs.  "It's a matter of working hard, for sure, but you have to go out there and try to do what you do best," he describes.  "You can't try to do everything.  You keep your weaknesses on the side and you work on them privately, but you can't go into a workout and focus on proving to someone that you can fix your shortcomings."

Barnes notes that two of his greatest strengths right now are his ability to orchestrate the pick & roll, plus knocking down open shots.  The former he was able to put on display in Denver, where he found himself in a workout with some big men.  Centers Wesley Wilson (Georgetown) and Will McDonald (South Florida) joined Barnes and Maryland guard Drew Nicholas at the Nuggets facility.

But the Stanford senior says that his workout with Golden State was where he showcased his shooting abilities.  In a group of all guards, Barnes stood out as the Warriors asked him, Troy Bell (Boston College), Jason Gardner (Arizona) and Marcus Hatten (St. John's) to shoot 25 jumpers from two different ranges.  The first set was five shots each from five spots around the perimeter at 20 feet; the second set similarly laid out 5x5 but behind the three-point line.  Barnes reports that he hit 18 of his 25 shots inside the arc and 15 of 25 outside.  "The Golden State people talked to my agent (Chris Emens of the Octagon Group) and Monty and gave both good feedback," he proudly tells.  "What we did during the workout was reminiscent of what I did here every day at Stanford.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I feel I shot it well."

One final comment from the Stanford point guard touched on a part of the Cardinal basketball experience he is bringing with him into this process.  "Playing basketball here [at Stanford] has given me an edge on a lot of other guys," he begins.  "The discipline instilled here is really helping me.  There are other guys who may be talented athletically, but who lack discipline.  I know I'm going to give 100% of myself to these clubs, and that means a lot." 

Next week Barnes will travel to the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks for another round of workouts.

For Julius Barnes' complete senior season statistics, including game-by-game lines, make sure to check out The Bootleg's unmatched 2002-03 stats detail page on the exciting 6'1" Stanford guard.

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