Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Canadian star RJ Barrett announces reclass to 2018, talks recruiting
As expected, Canadian star R.J. Barrett announced he will reclassify to 2018 from 2019, which will make him eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Barrett is currently ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2018 per 247Sports.com behind Marvin Bagley and Zion Williamson.
“Well, after thinking things over with my family for a while I have officially decided to reclassify to the 2018 class,” the 6-foot-7 guard from Montverde (FL) Academy and UPlay Canada wrote in his USA Today blog. “I’m right on track to graduate in 2018 and academically everything is great.”
Several notable Canadians have opted to reclass ahead a year after attending school in the U.S., including former No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, against whom Barrett has played one-on-one and with whom he has been compared. Andrew Nembhard, Barrett’s AAU and high school teammate, just announced he was reclassing to 2018.
Barrett also listed some of the schools that are making him a priority in the recruiting process.
“On my recruitment, I will say that the schools that are showing the most interest are Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and UCLA,” he wrote. “A few more have reached out and those schools are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, USC, UConn, and UNLV.”
Duke has been heavily involved for Barrett and is in regular contact, with one source saying it’s his “favorite school.”
“They’re recruiting me and stuff,” Barrett told ZAGSBLOG. “Just regular stuff, letting me know they’re recruiting me.”
Meantime, Kentucky has also been in touch with Barrett, and head coach John Calipari saw up close what Barrett is capable of when he dropped 38 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists on the U.S. in Canada’s semifinal win in Cairo.
“Yeah for sure he was at the tournament,” Barrett told ZAGSBLOG. “He texted me and told me congrats.”
Asked about other schools he mentioned, Barrett said, “All the schools I named they’ve been texting me,” he said.
As for visits, Barrett said he hasn’t set any up yet, but they will be coming in the near future.
Duke is also involved for the 6-11 Bagley, who took his first official visit to campus before a visit to USC, and planned trips to Arizona and UCLA. If Duke were to land Bagley and Barrett in back-to-back years (2017 and ’18) or both in 2018, they would have two players who are both in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
After leading Canada to a gold medal in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Egypt, Barrett shut it down for the remainder of the month although he recently trained in Las Vegas with NBA trainer Drew Hanlen.
Barrett said earlier this month it would have been “cool” to play at Peach Jam “but we just got back so I’m just going to rest and work on my game.”
He has been busy giving interviews in his native Canada.
“As soon as we got back and you see everyone congratulating us and we’re all over the news and stuff you really see we did something special,” Barrett said.
His next goal is to help Montverde win a championship at the Dick’s National High School Tournament. In April, Montverde lost to Brian Bowen (now at Louisville) and La Lumiere (IN).
“For sure,” Barrett said. “I need one, trying to get that championship. Came up short last year.”
Looking down the road, he is eyeing more gold medals with the Canadian Senior National Team in the 2020 or 2024 Olympics where he could team up with the likes of Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk and other Canadians in the NBA.
“You’re seeing that we have players and we can win,” he said. “We can beat the U.S. Just a statement that we’re working really hard and we’re up and coming.
As for a future Olympic gold-medal bid, he added: “I mean, we still got a lot of work to do before that happens but for sure to play on an Olympic team would be great.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.