The No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class, R.J. Barrett, is considering a class change, skipping his junior year and moving into the class of 2018.
The 6’7” shooting guard is currently finishing up his sophomore year of high school, a year in which MaxPreps gave him national sophomore of the year honors. He averaged 22 points and seven rebounds at Montverde Academy in FL.
“Right now, I don’t really know,” Barrett said of moving up, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Right now, I’m still 2019 and I guess we’ll make a decision in August.”
Barrett obviously has a ton of coaches interested in him, given his status within the 2019 class, but they’re starting to assume he’ll move to 2018, and they’re adjusting their plans accordingly.
“I think there’s a pretty good possibility he does it,” Scout’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “I mean, if I was the kid, I would. He’s the No. 1 prospect in his class. He’d probably be in the top two in 2018. And he’s a guy we’re projecting to be an NBA player. So, he’s good enough. He might as well get to the money quicker.”
Kentucky is of course a school interested in Barrett; Cal loves his five-star recruits. And because of that, it’s worth noting that Barrett is Canadian. Calipari has a pipeline that runs north of the border. He’s landed Jamal Murray, Mychal Mulder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, all Canadian recruits.
And apparently, Barrett and Murray have ties.
“Jamal is one of my friends and to watch him play at Kentucky was something special,” Barrett said. “He said he loved it and it helped him get at the league, so he’s thankful.”
Murray also took the same path as Barrett, getting to college a year early after reclassifying. He ended up being an All-American in his freshman season, so that has to have some appeal to Barrett.
And basketball ability runs in Barrett’s family (and friendships). Barrett’s father, Rowan Barrett, was a professional basketball player and Olympian. He played alongside Steve Nash in the Olympics, who is R.J.’s godfather.
“My dad was a pro, so he just really taught me how to work from a young age — and it’s really paying off,” said Barrett, according to SEC Country. “He’s always done more than me. He’s always played at a higher level than me. So whenever I do something, I go home and look at that jersey and be like, ‘Oh, man, I still got a long way to go.’ ”
At 16 years old, Barrett is already expected to be an NBA star one day. Might as well get there quicker, right?