R.J. Barrett is the No. 1 player in the ESPN 60 for 2019 and led Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) all the way to the DICKS’s Nationals title game last season. He followed that up by leading Team Canada to the gold medal in the U19 World Championships in Egypt this summer. Now he’s one of the most dominant players in the country, regardless of class, with every top college coach hot on his trail. Barrett has agreed to give USA TODAY HSS exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a monthly blog.
What’s up world, this is R.J. Barrett ready to kick off my second blog so here we go!
Well, I’m proud to say that I have a gold medal!
The Canadian U19 National Team came away with the gold in Egypt so that’s something I’ll always be able to take pride in and remember. Playing against guys that are a few years older was a challenge, but we really locked in and focused and we were able to get it done.
Everyone was talking about our win over Team USA in the semifinals because no one really gave us a chance to win that one. We were actually a man down so before the game we all knew that we’d have to step up; the coaching staff, the players, everybody.
Every time I step on the court I take it as an opportunity to get better and separate myself from everyone else so I took this game as another challenge because everyone on that team was an elite player at the highest level.
I’m a very confident player anyway, but this game really helped me take that confidence to another level.
I ended up with 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the win.
Other than the basketball side, Egypt was just cool!
It was crazy hot, but we got to ride camels and see the pyramids and stuff like that.
It’s crazy to think that people were able to build that with their bare hands! It was an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
After that my family and I decided not to play in the Peach State tournament because I really needed the rest. As a competitor, I definitely wanted to compete for the title, but winning the gold medal took a toll on me and it was important for me to get my rest. It was the best move for me.
I still haven’t made a decision on reclassifying from 2019 to 2018 just yet. I’ll probably make that decision over the next couple of weeks.
I don’t have any plans to play in anymore tournaments for the rest of the summer. I’m just here in Canada with my family until school starts in late August.
I’m doing two-a-days; I go work on my body in the morning and I get shots up and do drills after that.
My recruitment is going pretty good.
As I said before, my dad handles that to free me up to just be a kid and work on my game, but we’ve been hearing from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona and a couple more schools.
Visits definitely come up in conversations with my parents, but we haven’t really locked anything down just yet. I do know that a family type of situation and great coaching are really important to me.
It was cool to talk to Coach K, Coach Miller, Coach Altman, Coach Cal, Coach Beilein, Coach Smart… All those guys. I’m just building relationships at this point.
OK stepping away from basketball, I have to say that my guy from Canada, Drake, is killin’ it right now with the new song No Complaints. That’s my song right there! Check it out if you haven’t heard it already.
I know everyone was laughing when I was talking about how great maple syrup was here in Canada. Well, now that I’m back I’ve definitely had my maple syrup and it’s just as good as I remember it!
Haha! I am definitely gonna have to take some of this back with me to Montverde.
I’m telling you guys you have to taste this stuff!
I appreciate you guys reading and I’ll be back to give you another update soon.
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