Since 2011, Duke basketball has been a haven for the nation’s top one-and-done prospects. Stars like Kyrie Irving, Jabari Parker, Jayson Tatum, and Marvin Bagley III have all spent their freshman years at Duke. Now, Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett joins the list after he officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Canadian forward set the Duke freshman scoring record with 860 points.
Barrett led the ACC in scoring and was joined by teammate Zion Williamson on the AP All-American first team. His three-point shooting was inconsistent throughout the season, but he is a natural scorer.
The official announcement was made on social media, along with a brief video.
I want to thank God, my family, my coaches and everyone that has helped me reach this decision 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/z3GwdcV2ht
— Rj Barrett (@RjBarrett6) April 10, 2019
The leftie is at his best in transition, where he uses his elite athleticism and body control to finish around the rim. Barrett is projected to go in the top three picks. He is more than just a scorer, finishing second on the team in assists with 4.3 per game.
On February 23, 2019, Barrett became the fourth Duke player to record a triple-double as he finished the game with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He tends to force the issue at times on offense and can take some ill-advised shots. Barrett only hit 30.8 percent of his three-point attempts during his freshman season and will need to improve that figure in the NBA.
His decision to enter the 2019 NBA Draft is not a surprise as he was the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2018. Barrett will provide a huge scoring boost to whichever team he goes to as the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Chicago Bulls are all desperate for a potential 20-point per game scorer. The NBA’s fast-paced game fits in perfectly with Barrett’s skillset as the young Canadian excels at attacking the basket.
Barrett accomplished all that he could under head coach Mike Krzyzewski and will be looking to provide an NBA franchise a potential superstar.