Arlington point guard Christopher Barrett flashed a fair amount of potential as a junior.
But Barrett, who had transferred in from Seguin, found himself deferring to his senior teammates. Colts coach Paul Williams had higher expectations for Barrett’s senior season. And the player is more than measuring up to those high standards.
Barrett is pouring in more than 16 points per game, along with five assists and four steals. And he’s taken his game up a notch since District 4-6A play began. In the past three games, he’s averaging more than 19 points, including a 32-point outburst against a talented North Crowley squad that’s considered a prime district title contender.
“I challenged him, and he is more assertive,” Paul Williams said. “Last year, we had a lot of seniors and he was kind of reserved and didn’t want to come in and ruffle any feathers. He transferred in from Seguin and it was all new to him. I told him, ‘Hey, if we’re going to go anywhere, we go as you go.’”
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Arlington is off to a 1-2 start in district play, but there’s no reason the Colts can’t contend for the playoffs. After all, the coach believes he has in Barrett something no one else in the district can match.
“We have the best point guard in the district,” Paul Williams said. “I’m sure every coach thinks that. But he is the best point guard in the district. No one can guard him.”
What makes him great is his versatility. He already played tough defense and was an exceptional passer. But Barrett spent time in the offseason honing his shot and now knocks down 3-pointers with consistency. Arlington, which reached the finals of December’s Moritz Holiday Classic, has given opponents fits with its guard-heavy lineup and the Colts’ ability to spread the court.
“If we need to score, then I’ll score,” Barrett said. “But if we need to get someone else the ball, I’ll create and get it to them.”
That trust Barrett is showing in his teammates includes getting the ball two a pair of sophomore starters who are on their first year on varsity. One of those young players is guard Shawn Steele, who scored a game-high 12 against Sam Houston on Friday. Steele is getting up to speed in varsity play after a few early struggles.
“When I first started, it was hard; it was fast,” Steele said. “I had a few turnovers.”
Now that he and fellow sophomore guard Ron Williams have developed into consistent scorers, Arlington has become a legitimate playoff contender. That’s a level of success that recent Colts squads have failed to achieve.
“We come to practice every day with that mindset that we’re going to win district,” Ron Williams said.
That winning mindset spurred the Colts to success in the Moritz tournament in Aledo. Arlington defeated Brewer and Midlothian in the first two rounds and then dispatched Mansfield in the semifinals. But the team had to sit around for several hours after the Mansfield victory waiting for the tournament final. The coach felt the waiting around did his team no favors in the title-game loss to Keller Timber Creek.
“They’re tough-minded,” Paul Williams said. “They started talking about winning the tournament and they nearly did.”