Canadians R.J. Barrett, Simi Shittu Named to McDonald's All-American Game | Zagsblog
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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.
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Saturday / December 4.
  • Canadians R.J. Barrett, Simi Shittu Named to McDonald’s All-American Game

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    The McDonald’s All-American Game will have a Canadian flavor this year.

    Two Canucks were named to the March 28th game in Atlanta — 6-foot-7 Duke-bound wing R.J. Barrett of Montverde (FL) Academy and 6-10 Vanderbilt signee Simi Shittu of Vermont Academy.

    (Click here for the full rosters.)

    Shittu recently suffered a knee injury and his status for the game remains uncertain. He did not play with his team this past weekend at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

    Simi ShittuCity Legendz InvitationalVermont Academy WildcatsWatch video on Overtime

    “Having two Canadian players in the same McDonald’s All American Game again displays what we all have been witnessing for several years, which is our talent is getting developed and the world is recognizing it,” Dwayne Washington, Barrett’s coach with the UPlay Canada AAU team, told ZAGSBLOG. “It’s temporarily satisfying, however we are just getting started.”

    This is the first time since 2010 that two Canucks made the game. That year Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson made the game. Both are now in the NBA, Joseph with the Toronto Raptors and Thompson with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2011, two more Canadians — Khem Birch and Myck Kabongo — made the game, as did Kyle Wiltjer, who was born in Portland, Ore., but is a Canadian-American. Anthony Bennett made the 2012 McDonald’s Game, Andrew Wiggins did so in 2013 and  Trey Lyles made the 2014 game. Bennett and Wiggins were selected as back-to-back No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

    “As we continue to get McDonald’s All Americans, they get bigger and better,” Toronto Raptors analyst Leo Rautins said. “Canadian prep schools and AAU programs are on par with top U.S. programs. More players are making an impact at the D-1 level. Canada has the most NBA players outside of the USA, and that list will grow, putting Canada closest to the U.S. in talent and athleticism and further ahead of any other country.”

    Canada has only won medal in the Olympics and that was back in 1936, but Barrett led the Canadian U19 team to a gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship last summer in Egypt. He is now the projected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

    Looking ahead, Canada is eyeing the 2020 and 2024 Olympics for potential medals.

    “In 2020 there could be 20 [Canadian] guys in the NBA,” Rautins told The 4 Quarters Podcast. “By 2024, if everybody’s healthy and you have some longevity and the new guys continue to develop, you may have 30 guys in the NBA. So by 2024, they’re going to have this pool. You’re going to have this ability to have two teams to come up with one outstanding National Team. And that’s where to me it’s going to get really exciting.”

    RJ BarrettHoophall ClassicMontverde Academy EaglesWatch video on Overtime

     



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.