Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes knows the race for Rookie Of The Year is extremely close this year — and he doesn’t try to hide what it means to him. Barnes spoke about vying for the award as a way to establish his legacy.
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- Hi, Scottie. Thanks for joining us here. We have a couple of questions for you. We'll start with Peter.
PETER ORTIZ: Hi, Scottie. Peter Ortiz, On Fire Media. Another dominating performance for you tonight. How close do you think is the competition among the rookies this year? And how important it is for you to win that award?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Hi. Say that again?
PETER ORTIZ: How close do you think is the competition among the rookies this year? And how important it is for you to win that award, the Rookie of the Year Award?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I think that-- I would say I think it's pretty close. You know, a lot of records have just been really hooping this year. They just really [? bound ?] [? out ?] on their teams, helping their teams out. I would say it's important to me to just try to-- my rookie year, to try to start my legacy off right. That's just been a goal of mine, start of the season. I would say it's something that we all should be trying to achieve that win.
PETER ORTIZ: Thank you.
- And next we'll go to Doug.
- Scottie, thanks for coming by. Tonight was-- it seemed like a very, very physical game against a very tough defensive team. How does that sort of help you going into the second half of the season, knowing that you're going to see more and more games like that?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I would say it was a good fight today. It was a good game. I would say we battled. Of course they was-- it was a-- they was playing great defense, but as long as we just stay together, just learn from these games, and just grow, I'm sure our staff and our coaches know-- can figure out what some things that we need to work on or things like that that we could just do to get better. So just put our trust in our team and them.
- Thank you. Six assists for you tonight. Are you getting back to knowing-- you know, we talked the other day about a slow comeback from the knee and the COVID. Are you getting back to a routine, a rhythm, where you know where everybody is going to be on the floor when you're [? up ?] there playing with them?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Really, yeah-- I'm really just trying to find my groove out there on the floor. I'm really still just coming in and settling, just trying to get better each and every game.
- Great. Thanks, Scottie. Appreciate it as always.
SCOTTIE BARNES: Thank you.
- And next we'll go to Aaron.
- Hey, Scottie. You guys are at the halfway mark of your season. How would you assess things so far?
SCOTTIE BARNES: How would I assess things so far? I feel like-- like I said, I feel like we still just come together as a team. We still got a long way to go, of course, to hit our strides. But we still feel very confident in this team, of what we can really do.
- When you say, we're still coming together, is part of that, you know, constant injuries and COVID issues to the whole team that you guys maybe haven't had as long as you normally would as a team to jell?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Of course, injuries happen, so as soon as we get our full team, another injury happens right away. So we really just-- we just really can't get a-- we just don't have our full roster when everybody-- we just-- like I said, we don't have our full roster. We're still-- everyone just keeps-- sometimes we get hurt, and then we come back. We still just got to adjust to each other's games and things like that.
- Thanks, Scottie.
SCOTTIE BARNES: Thank you,
- And next we'll go to Michael Grange.
MICHAEL GRANGE: Hey, Scottie, that play you made on the break where you dunked it and Martin got you from behind, did you feel like that could have been called a flagrant? Or did you get a sense he pushed you or anything like that?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I would say, no, I just felt like he was-- it was just a hustle play. He tried to get the block. But I would just say he was just running real fast and couldn't really control his self in that situation. But I don't feel like it was a flagrant. I feel like it was just a regular foul.
MICHAEL GRANGE: Cool. Thanks, man. Take care.
- And next we'll go to Yianni.
YIANNI KOURAKIS: Hey, Scottie. This is Yianni from WPBF in West Palm Beach. How special was it for you to return to South Florida in front of family and friends?
SCOTTIE BARNES: It was just great coming to Florida. It was just amazing weather, you know, of course. It just feels great to be back home-- friends, family here. I saw them a little bit it's just a good vibe.
YIANNI KOURAKIS: Did you grow up a Heat fan? And how many tickets did you have for this game for family and friends?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I didn't actually grow up a Heat fan. But I had 10 tickets for my grandparents, my mom, pops, and just, like, my brothers and sister.
YIANNI KOURAKIS: And last one for me. From Cardinal Newman and your other high schools to Florida State and then the NBA, when you look back at these last couple years, is it still sort of crazy to you that you're flourishing in the NBA at your age?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Oh, for sure. It's a blessing. I think about it all the time. It was just a blessing to just come into the NBA, living my lifelong dream, lifelong goals, what I've been just working on so hard to try to do. So you can't really just take nothing for granted. So it's just a blessing every time I-- I'm here, and I think about it. It's just-- I'm living my dreams.
YIANNI KOURAKIS: Thank you.
- Thanks, Scottie. That's all the questions we have for you.