Can Fil-Am Sedrick Barefield make noise at the 2018 Draft?
Photo c/o @sedrickbarefield on IG
6'2" Utah Utes point guard Sedrick Barefield didn't have the smoothest entry into US college basketball. He first played for coach Larry Brown at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, seeing action for a total of 16 minutes in the 2015-2016 season. He then transferred to Utah in 2016 and finally had a place where he could showcase his wares. He normed around 9.0 points and 2.0 assists per game in his first season in the Pac-12, and followed that up this year by putting up around 12.0 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds while hitting nearly two triples per outing.
The California-born Filipino-American was projected to be a potential Pac-12 First Team floor general for the 2018-2019 US NCAA season, but his early entry into the 2018 NBA Draft has put his tenure in college hoops up in the air.
The big question is, does he have the chops to make a splash in this year's NBA Draft, or would he be little more than a footnote in a draft class where Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton, and Jalen Brunson are expected to be the marquee point guard prospects?
There are a couple of things going for Barefield. First and foremost is his ability to score. Coming out of Centennial High School in Corona, California, Barefield was known as scoring sensation, which earned him three-star recruit status. His ball-handling was far more advanced than his peers; he could finish around the basket even with contact, and his range extended as far back as the NBA three-point line. Needless to say, he was an exciting scoring package.
All those things were on display this past season for the Utes, and the son of Filipina Kat Barefield and former San Diego State star Ray Barefield feels like he has built up an impressive enough body of work to attract NBA attention. One of his best games in a Utah jersey came against the University of San Francisco in the 2016 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. In that matchup, Barefield exploded for 35 points, taking on the scoring cudgels as former teammate and current LA Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma went down with an ankle injury.
For Barefield to earn serious NBA Draft consideration and eventually get minutes for a real NBA team, however, he still needs to work on his playmaking and defense. For someone with his size and skill-set, scoring heavily in the NBA will be extremely difficult, and though Barefield is deadly from the perimeter, he's no Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, or even Isaiah Thomas. What he can work on though, is dishing out to his open teammates and playing tenacious defense like, becoming like a Matthew Dellavedova or a Shake Larkin. Given his current state, Barefield -- to be completely honest -- would be really fortunate to be drafted at all. His ceiling right now -- given his handles and if he specializes in his perimeter game, playmaking, and defense -- would be someone like Patty Mills, and that might be pushing it, too.
Still, the Filipino-American has some time to work on his other skills. If he impresses at the pre-draft workouts, anything can happen. In the event that he doesn't get drafted, he can still fight it out in the NBA Summer League and maybe land a bona fide NBA contract. Alternately, he could work his way into the NBA via the G League. In this context, it's actually a good thing he hasn't signed up with an agent yet, which still makes it possible for him to return to college for one final season. That would allow him to get valuable input from NBA franchises about where he stands, and what could still use some improvement.
The dream of making it to the NBA could come quickly, or it might still be far off, depending on what Barefield decides to do. Regardless though, his Filipino fans will still be rooting for him in the months to come.
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