R.J. Barrett was the No. 1 player in the ESPN 100 for 2018. He led Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) all the way to the DICKS’s Nationals title game last season and followed that up by leading the Nike EYBL in scoring and then 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, a Duke signee, 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, it’s R.J. Barrett kicking off another blog so let’s get it going.
I want to start out by saying that I’m honored to be able to say that I’m a McDonald’s All American! That’s always been a goal of mine so to be able to go out there and represent my family and Canada is really big for me.
One of the toughest things about this season has been our travel schedule.
Most people don’t think about that part, but this season we’ve been all over the country, plus China and Hawaii.
It’s been a lot.
The part that people don’t get to see is the time changes we dealt with. Sometimes it would be hard getting enough sleep trying to adjust to a new time zone and still having to come out and play at the highest level and take everyone’s best shot as the No. 1 team in the country.
What I love about that is this type of situation makes you grow so much mentally!
Everyone is coming at us hard and we have to shake off the tiredness and answer them.
That’s only gonna help me at the next level, especially at Duke because they get everyone’s best shot too.
I feel like we’re playing pretty well.
We’re scoring at a high level and that’s really helped in close games like the one against Simeon. I think as we continue to get better on the defensive end we’ll be OK. We recently added Balsa (Koprivica) and he brings a big presence, finishes well and changes shots so that’s been a big boost for us.
Individually, I’m really working to continue improving my defense.
Also, my shooting keeps getting better, but not where I want it to be. My ball handling has gotten a lot better, but it’s something I constantly work at.
Basically, I want to get better in every way.
One of the things that Coach K told me that he wants me to continue to work on is my leadership. Being a leader is a part of my personality, but I know I’ll have to be an even better leader at the next level.
He told me that he wants to help me grow as a leader to help prepare me for my future.
Of course by now everyone knows that we got Zion (Williamson) in The Brotherhood and we’re all excited about that.
We’re definitely expecting big things next season with the class we’ve got coming in.
OK, so I’m in to the second semester at school and everything is going great.
I think the most interesting class I’m taking so far is my art class where I get to try painting. Haha!
Now I’m not the most artistic guy in the world, but I try. I feel like I’m getting better.
On the music side, definitely check out Drake’s new song “God’s Plan.”
That one’s tough!
I’m excited because we’re hosting a big tournament this weekend at our school. Shadow Mountain and Findlay Prep are coming so hopefully we’ll end up playing one of those teams.
Should be fun.
OK, guys I’ve got to get ready to go but I appreciate you reading.
Check back soon for the next one; exciting things coming.
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