Barnett must get off to flying start, warns Love
MARJON Plymouth Raiders boss Gavin Love has challenged Javarris Barnett to find his feet quickly at the Pavilions this season.
The 22-year-old American is the only rookie on Raiders' roster in 2012/13.
The 6ft 8in power-forward, recruited out of his hometown University of Charlotte and North Carolina, will report for the first day of pre-season training on Monday.
He has been well schooled at Charlotte and hardened by surviving in a tough division in American college basketball, the Atlantic 10.
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However, Love knows the BBL is another level again.
He said: "It's nice to have a rookie on the team, a fresh pair of legs and one who's very enthusiastic.
"Javarris is a nice guy, but he's going to have to adapt quickly, because the BBL is a different level to college basketball."
Barnett is a rare talent because he is a big-man who is comfortable ghosting outside and knocking down three-pointers.
He converted 40 per cent from the three-point line for Charlotte last season, which is deadly when you consider Michael Ojo, Raiders' chief three-point threat in 2011/12, hit 39 per cent from deep.
The last big-man Raiders boasted capable of hitting three-pointers was Kwbana Beckles in 2008/09.
Love said: "Javarris is athletic, he shoots the ball really well and has got good size. I wouldn't say he's a beast, but he's a skilful guy.
"He's coming from a tough league in college basketball, probably one of the top ones.
"He's versatile and he's played at a high level, but we'll have to see how he adapts."
Love has added real experience to a seven-strong roster this summer in guard Drew Lasker and forward Colin O'Reilly, who both have seven seasons in professional basketball under their belt.
New centre Matt Schneck is entering his third year in the BBL and also knows the ropes.
Hopefully, if Barnett has an early wobble this season, his new team-mates can help put him back on track.
"We've got good experience this year – guys who know how to win in the league and who are smart and unselfish," said Love.
"You don't see guys like Colin or Matt taking bad shots. They play within their role on the team and Drew is the same as well.
"You need guys like that. You can't have everyone trying to do it all by themselves. That experience should help others."
Raiders report back for three weeks of pre-season training on Monday.
They tip-off the new BBL season on September 22 at Leicester Riders.
Their first home game is the following Sunday, September 30, against Milton Keynes Lions.
"We've been waiting to get these guys in for pre-season for a while now," said Love.
"Getting back out on court and actually doing some coaching will be a lovely change.
"We're not going to do anything different. Charlie Legg and his team at CFE will work with the players on fitness. They do a fantastic job."