R.J. Barrett is one step closer to taking over the world. The basketball phenom may still only be in secondary school, but the Mississauga native is already turning heads in the United States and abroad. Earlier this week, the 17-year-old took home the award for Naismith High School Player of the Year after a dominant season at Montverde Academy. While at the Florida institute, the young hooper managed to average 27 points per game on 50.4 percent shooting.
Barrett's latest honour is really the cherry on top of an incredible run these last few months. Last summer, he led his home nation to a FIBA U19 championship against a formidable Italian team — R.J. was also named the tournament's most valuable player. And in November, the blue-chip prospect built upon his evergrowing hype by committing to a strong Duke University program. It's big power moves like these, that have scouts projecting the Sauga kid to go first in the 2019 NBA draft.
R.J. is just the second Canadian to snag the prestigious Naismith award and the first since Minnesota Timberwolves star, Andrew Wiggins. Before entering the NBA, the big forward won during his 2013 season at Huntington Prep. Despite his young age, Barrett is now in some very good company: fellow Naismith winners include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James just to name a few.