EMERSON, Ga. – R.J. Barrett is the No. 1 player in the ESPN 25 for 2019, but he’s mulling over the possibility of joining the 2018 class.
If that happens he’ll likely have to fight his way back to No. 1 with Marvin Bagley III and Zion Williamson firmly entrenched in the top two spots in the ESPN 60 for 2018.
Still, the probable demotion doesn’t make reclassifying even the least bit unattractive for Barrett; quite on the contrary, it makes the potential move more appealing.
“I’m a competitor,” Barrett said. “I know all about Marvin and he’s a great player, but I’m a worker. I like the idea of working back to the top. That’s attractive to me.”
That competitive edge was on full display Friday when he posted a triple-double – 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists – in UPlay Canada’s 85-77 loss to Portland BC (Ore.). He followed that up with a 41-point, 13-rebound performance in a 99-75 win over Team United (N.C.) on Saturday.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do as far as reclassifying or not,” Barrett said. “I’m going to make that decision at the end of the summer after I see how I play and how things go. I want to make the best decision so I’m not gonna rush things.”
For a player of Barrett’s caliber, college coaches are willing to exercise patience.
Last month, Barrett, a 6-foot-7, do-it-all prospect, averaged 25 points and eight rebounds a game at the DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals. He and the Eagles eventually fell to La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) in the championship game.
Montverde finished No. 7 overall in the USA Today Super 25.
“If I was going to reclassify it would be because of the challenge,” Barrett said. “That’s why I came to Montverde, that’s why I train the way I do, that’s why I do everything… I’m always ready to work. If I reclassified I’d be working to get back to the top.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY