R.J. Barrett Is Canada’s Next Basketball Superstar
The Future Of Canadian Basketball
RJ Barrett shocked the world by leading Canada’s under-19 national team to the first Gold medal of the country’s history, in any international basketball tournament. Canada completed a 79-60 rout of the Italians to earn the 2017 FIBA U19 championship, with Barrett contributing 18 points, 12 boards and four assists to the win… Impressive, but it was Barrett’s performance in the semi-finals that caught the attention of the international roundball community.
Barrett astonished against a heavily-favored United States squad, coached by Kentucky college legend John Calipari, leading the Canadian U19s to a resounding 99-87 upset. RJ was monstrous, dropping 38 points on the Americans, hauling 13 rebounds and dishing 5 assists.
Barrett dominated throughout the entire competition, averaging a tournament-high 21.6 points per game, as well as 8.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Deservingly, RJ was named the MVP of the U19 FIBA championship, head and shoulders above stars two years his senior. This isn’t the first time he’s clearly outplayed older players. One of the most exciting aspects of RJ Barrett’s future is the fact that he’s always prevailed as the youngest member of elite teams.
Barrett Declares Himself Ready For The NCAA
After dominating the highest level of non-pro basketball at the age of 17, RJ Barrett decided to reclassify himself for the 2018 NCAA college season. Before this announcement, RJ already gathered interest from all the top college basketball programs in the United States. He determined his top five to be Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Oregon. Regardless of his destination, RJ will have a tremendous impact throughout the college season, including March Madness.
He joins an NCAA class that’s absolutely stacked with franchise-player talent, including Bol Bol, Zion Williamson and Marvin Bagley Jr., all of whom will jockey for the status of being a number one overall pick in the NBA draft. Similar to these prospects, Barrett shows the type of elite offensive skill and athleticism usually reserved for players a half-decade older.
RJ still needs to evolve his jump shot and foul shooting, while learning to finish at the rim with his right hand. Similar to most young players, he lacks the type of core strength that allows ballers to finish drives through contact, drawing three-point plays. These types of skills are relatively easy to teach, compared to RJ’s already advanced playmaking.
Any criticism of Barrett’s game will be outweighed by the sheer potential of his overwhelming athletic talent, and his ability to remain calm in high-profile situations. Barring injury, Barrett’s positioned to become one of the best players in Canadian history.
With a bit of good fortune, he could rise to become Canada’s preeminent basketball legend, supplanting his famous Godfather and family friend, Steve Nash.
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