Originally written on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 10/3/14
ATLANTA -- Will Barton eats. He swears it. The NBA Draft prospect from the University of Memphis carries the weight of his professional aspirations as he works out for league coaches around the country, but his interview sessions lately tend to center on actual weight the type that shows up on the scales. I eat a lot. Im serious, Barton said with a laugh after a private workout with the Atlanta Hawks. I do pushups, I lift weights. Its just a thing to where Ill never put on that much weight. Such questions have persisted since his high school days, though nothing stopped him back then. After averaging 20.8 points per game his senior season at Brewster Academy in Maryland, Barton was tabbed as the nations top shooting guard in the Class of 2010. And when he and his brother, Antonio, spurned top colleges around the country for Coach Josh Pastner and Memphis, talks of a revival ensued. The news could not have come at a better time for Pastner, who had recently been named the Tigers coach. His predecessor, John Calipari, took most of Memphis 2009 recruits with him to Kentucky, the teams top returning scorer decided to forego his senior season and another top recruit Latavious Williams backed out of his commitment to be drafted by the NBAs D-League. Barton was expected to change the momentum of the program under Pastner. Memphis was back in the national title picture, or so it was assumed. But fast forward three years later and not much has changed. Memphis still struggles to reach Calipari-esque heights, while Barton who declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season possesses a draft profile that reads similar to his high school scouting report: aggressive scoring threat, versatile skill set, preferable height yet oddly undersized. He averaged 18 points per game during his sophomore campaign, but even as he confidently fielded questions in the Atlanta Hawks practice gym Tuesday afternoon, his gangly frame never strayed far from the conversation. Ill never be necessarily bigger, just keep gaining strength. They know Im not going to be the guy who puts on a lot of weight or be real muscular and stuff like that, Barton said. The key was just to keep gaining strength, and theyve been saying to just make sure I can take hits, finish with contact, defend bigger guys. History suggests that Barton will find a place in the NBA. Top shooting guard recruits in recent years have all found their way to NBA rosters, including prominent players Eric Gordon, Monta Ellis, Louis Williams, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Even Avery Bradley, Wayne Ellington, Martell Webster and Xavier Henry have carved out niches on NBA rosters. Theres also this little dose of reality: Will Barton has too much upside for 30 teams to pass on. Despite the size that he has forgivingly grown tired of answering for, Barton improved all facets of his game last seasonfrom shot selection to defense. He even averaged more than nine rebounds per 40 minutes, an abnormally high rate for a wing player, but he shrugged it off by saying he lives in the paint. You dont have to be skilled to rebound. Its something that you gotta want to do and have a knack for the ball. Just be tough. Most draft analysts have him as a fringe prospect dwindling on the fine line that separates late first round and early second round prospects. The Hawks worked him out Tuesday morning to see if he fits into their future, but a decision will need to be made within the next week: Will Hawks coach Larry Drew or any other NBA staff use a late first-rounder on a 175-pound scorer? Chances are he wont be there later on. Barton possesses the air of confidence one expects for a player who has been tabbed an NBA prospect for so long, and its a quality that certainly serves him well in these private workout settings and subsequent interviews. As the questions about every one of those 175 pounds persisted, Barton continued on with the nonchalance of a player satisfied with what his future holds. As long as Im able to take hits, defend my position and rebound and do these things I need to do then Ill be fine.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ray Rice could be reinstated within next month

Earl Thomas: Refs need to stay out of it and let us dominate

Browns lament ‘unacceptable’ loss to winless Jaguars

Peyton Manning sets NFL touchdown passing record

Report: CJ Spiller suffers broken collarbone

DeMarco Murray sets record with another 100-yard game

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview: Will Giants or Royals win it all?

NFL tweets graphic of recipients of Manning's 509 TD passes

Hockey fights of the week

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Video: Alec Burks breaks Kobe Bryant's ankles

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Report: Marshall calls out Jay Cutler

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.