Xavier Starnes prides himself on being a student of the game and a defensive-minded basketball player. He leans on having a strong work ethic so his game will standout more than his 5’9” frame.
Before he goes to bed, Starnes watches film. He currently studies NBA champion forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammate Jrue Holiday along with Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul. A play he would like to mimic is Holiday’s lob to Antetokounmpo during the final seconds of game five of the NBA Finals.
“I want to be the one to throw the lob to somebody like that,” Starnes said. “I want to throw the lob to one of my teammates … that seems pretty cool to me.”
He is in his freshman year at St. Monica Catholic High School. Online learning during the Quarantine did not deter Starnes from being committed to his studies.
“I always been a pretty good student, I’ve always liked school,” he said. “It always came easy to me. I’ve never been stressed over school before, I’ve never not wanted to go to school.”
Last spring, Starnes graduated from The City School with a 3.7 GPA and maintained a 3.5 GPA throughout his middle school years.
Starnes also used the Quarantine to work on his game. During those unprecedented times, he was not just practicing to improve his skills.
“When I play basketball, to me, it separates me from the problems in the world,” Starnes said. “I got a basketball and I just dribbled almost all the time.”
He also had a basketball hoop in his backyard where he practiced shooting to pass the time.
In August, Starnes showcased his talent at the annual Ball is Life Junior All American event. He focused on being a defensive stalwart, making as many as six steals in a single game. He averaged 5.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 3.6 steals per game. He paced the event in steals, his efforts helped his team get a spot at the event’s All-Star game where they won 88-55.
His 10-point performance during one game earned him a free pair of Adidas. He also won the Hustler award.
“In defense, you got to work harder than everybody,” Starnes said. “As a smaller person on the court, I got to work harder.”
Starnes enjoys sports reporting, photography, and competitive swimming. He is fascinated at how photos record moments in time.
“I do like it because memories are really important to me,” he said. “I always like taking pictures of friends or of me, stuff that I could remember.”
Along with excelling as a student athlete, Starnes hosts a sports podcast with his father, Devin Starnes. The podcast is called “Xavier B Sports.”
“I can talk sports for hours and hours,” the younger Starnes said. “We feel like we have really good conversations and really controversial conversations.”
Starnes’ favorite classes are English and science. His favorite books are the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. The stick-figure drawings that series is known for remind him of his drawing abilities.
“That’s what kept me reading,” Starnes said. “The stick figures and how it was written like a diary, that’s pretty cool.”