Canada’s Bar­rett skips ahead to en­ter col­lege ear­lier

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - LORI EWING

Canada’s young bas­ket­ball star R.J. Bar­rett will leap a year in high school to play col­lege bas­ket­ball next year.

The 17-year-old from Mis­sis­sauga an­nounced he was re­clas­si­fy­ing on his blog — “RJ’s World” — on USA To­day.

The news comes three weeks af­ter Bar­rett led Canada to gold at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo, the coun­try’s first bas­ket­ball world ti­tle at any age level.

“I’ve been think­ing about it for some time now, just talk­ing to my fam­ily about it, just came to this de­ci­sion,” Bar­rett said in phone in­ter­view from Las Ve­gas.

“The World Cup helped, I played well and the team did well, but (re­clas­si­fy­ing) has been an idea. The World Cup was def­i­nitely a con­fi­dence booster, but it was just one of the things that led to this de­ci­sion.”

Re­clas­si­fy­ing means Bar­rett will be el­i­gi­ble for the 2019 NBA draft, where he’s a pro­jected lottery pick.

Bar­rett av­er­aged 21.6 points and 8.3 re­bounds in Cairo, and scored 38 points in Canada’s his­toric semi­fi­nal vic­tory over the United States en route to earn­ing MVP hon­ours, de­spite be­ing one of the tour­na­ment’s youngest play­ers.

The six-foot-six wing is ac­cus­tomed to be­ing on the court with older play­ers. As a 14-year-old, he led Canada’s U16 team to a sil­ver medal at the FIBA Amer­i­cas tour­na­ment.

He was one of the youngest play­ers in the Bas­ket­ball With­out Bor­ders game, as part of NBA All-Star Week­end last Fe­bru­ary in New Or­leans, and earned MVP hon­ours. He was the fourth youngest player in the his­tory of the Nike Hoop Sum­mit, which pits a world high school se­lect team against the best high school­ers in the U.S.

Bar­rett, who plays bas­ket­ball for Montverde Acad­emy in Montverde, Fla., is touted as the top player in the world his age, and is the No. 1 player in the ESPN 60 for 2019.

Bar­rett fol­lows in the foot­steps of Cana­dian star An­drew Wig­gins, who also re­clas­si­fied to play at Kansas a year early en route to be­ing se­lected with the top over­all pick in the 2014 draft.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.