The lyrics “Scottie! Scottie! Scottie!” took the Scotiabank Arena by storm on Saturday when Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes was named NBA rookie of the year.
The news broke just as Barnes was approved to play in Game 4 of the Raptors’ playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. He missed two games of this series with a sprained ankle as Toronto fell 3-0 in a best-of-seven-game series.
A tribute video shows former Raptors great Vince Carter making the announcement to Barnes and teammates in Toronto after their morning finals game.
“We are incredibly proud of Scottie, and delighted and grateful that his hard work has been recognized with this honor,” Raptors vice president and president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. . “What you see on the field is exactly Scottie: enthusiasm. Fun. Sporty. Ingenious and a winner.
“We – and our fans – have enjoyed seeing his development this season, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Barnes, 4th pick in the 2021 draft, became the third Raptor to win the rookie title after Damon Stoudamire (1996) and Carter (1999).
Stoudamire was also featured in the introductory video at Scotiabank Arena. Barnes stood in center court during the pre-match ceremony and Ujiri presented him with the rookie of the year trophy to a standing ovation from the Toronto fans.
Barnes stepped forward and held the award over his head to an explosion of cheers from the arena, sparking excitement from the crowd ahead of the important game.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse isn’t even sure Barnes will play against the Sixers on Saturday.
Nurse told a pre-match press conference: “We’re still just waiting. He’s upstairs for a fitness check to see how he’s doing.” “He took part in the practice sessions. We’ll see.”
The 20-year-old Barnes averaged 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds scoring 49.2% in his first season with the Raptors. He averages 35.4 minutes per game, ranking first among all rookies and the only rookie in the top five in points, rebounds, assists, steals and tackles.
This Canadian Press report was first published on April 23, 2022.