Barnes could be staying close to home to play in NBA

Scottie Barnes is a consensus lottery projection and could go in the top 5 — possibly No. 5 overall to the Orlando Magic — in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. He would be the 16th Florida State player to be taken in the first round but also the sixth since the 2016 draft.

The FSU coaching staff has identified, developed and coached an impressive list of talented players in recent years with first-round picks like Malik Beasley (2016), Jonathan Isaac (2017), Mfiondu Kabengele (2019) and Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell (2020).

Barnes averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds in his one season at FSU but showcased his confidence as well as used his wingspan on the defensive end. While still in the developmental stages as an offensive player, Barnes offers the prospect of a 6-foot-8 defender who could limit drives and alter shots of opposing guards.

The ACC’s freshman and sixth man of the year is the obvious headliner and is often viewed in NBA mock drafts as heading to the Magic at No. 5 overall. If that happens, he would join Isaac in Orlando. And he would give FSU back-to-back drafts with top-5 picks, following Williams (No. 4 overall to Chicago) in 2020.

FSU could also have a three other Seminoles selected as RaiQuan Gray, M.J. Walker and Balsa Koprivica have also gone through pre-draft workouts. Gray gained 10 pounds since the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament and there were concerns at the NBA Combine about his body fat (17.3 percent). He has been projected as a second-round pick (49th overall) by the Brooklyn Nets by CBSSports.com and also as a second-rounder (51st overall) by the Memphis Grizzlies by theAthletic.com. Walker and Koprivica have not been mentioned in the mock drafts by major media outlets.

The two-round NBA Draft begins Thursday at 8 p.m. Both rounds will air on ESPN.