Sawyer Barnett (24) of the County Clippers dribbles the ball up the court during a tournament game in Peterborough.
Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
Sawyer Barnett’s love of basketball was fostered by just shooting hoops outside at home when he was five years old. “He eventually graduated to a regulation hoop, but he started out on a low one at five,” said his father Kurtis, adding his own enjoyment for the sport likely played a role in Sawyer’s outdoor play. “I think probably most was to impress me because I love basketball.”
Now 10, Sawyer’s love of the sport continued to grow and he and his dad now cheer for the Boston Celtics. Sawyer’s favourite player is Jayson Tatum. “I really like them because my dad does and now I love watching them,” he says. “It kind of helps me getting better watching them play.”
Of course, as great as it is to watch basketball, playing is even better, which Sawyer enjoys as a member of the County Clippers U12 team in Prince Edward County. He started playing for the Clippers around age seven. “I just like playing with my friends and I love the sport,” Sawyer says, noting his favourite parts are dribbling and shooting. “I dribbled with two hands. Now I’ve worked my way up to one hand and dribbling really good.”
Sawyer tried soccer and t-ball a few years ago and enjoyed them, but they weren’t a slam dunk to keep his interest. He loves playing and practising for basketball, going on road trips and having his family watch him play. That’s been limited the past couple of years due to Ontario government restrictions. While he could get outside to shoot hoops, it wasn’t the same as when he was five. “I didn’t really like it because I couldn’t really do anything, couldn’t see any of my friends, couldn’t see anyone, couldn’t see my team, couldn’t play tournaments,” Sawyer said.
The disappointment was evident to his father Kurtis.
“You could tell it wasn’t the same to him to go out and shoot around. He loves going to practice, he really looks forward to it. Even if it gets cancelled because of a snow day or something, he’s bummed out,” he said. “I guess the main thing is he’s a really social kid so that aspect to him is huge. Just going away to the tournaments and being with his friends. He’s made a lot of really close friendships with his teammates so I know that’s a big driving force for him. He struggles being by himself and just shooting around. He’ll do it
for a bit, but he needs that social interaction.”
Sawyer has enjoyed playing in tournaments and Peterborough and looks forward to provincial championships in London. He puts as much effort into practice as he does games. “It’s really important because we all work with each other, we all do drills together so we know how each of us play and what we’re all good at,” Sawyer said. Sawyer has big personal aspirations in the sport. “My goal is to get to the NBA,” he said. “That’s my only goal right now.”
In February, the Clippers announced the unfortunate cancellation again of the Spring House League. The organization is “looking at putting together some outdoor camps this summer” according to the announcement.
To learn more about the Clippers and keep up to date with rep and house league announcements, visit