5-star recruit R.J. Barrett will play college basketball a year sooner than expected
R.J. Barrett, the top-ranked prospect in the Class of 2019, announced via blog post on USA Today that he will reclassify and join the Class of 2018. The 17-year-old’s plans had long been known to college coaches around the country.
Barrett will now battle Marvin Bagley III for the top spot in 2018, assuming that the latter doesn’t succeed in reclassifying himself.
The 6-foot-6 small forward bounced further into the national consciousness earlier this summer when he dropped 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to help Canada upset the United States in the FIBA U19 Men’s Basketball World Championships. Barrett is a terrific prospect who can dominate opponents off the bounce. He possesses elite athleticism, but like many young talents will need to work on improving his jump shot as he progresses through the basketball ranks.
The question at the front of basketball fans’ minds around the country will be where Barrett will play his likely one season of college hoops. In his announcement, he let the world know which schools are pushing hardest:
"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. A few more have reached out and those schools are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, USC, UConn and UNLV."
Up next for Barrett and his family will be setting up official visits a year earlier than planned. 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer wrote recently that Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Oregon are the favorites to land the coveted 5-star prospect. The Blue Devils lead Kansas in the site’s Crystal Ball as of today.
Barrett will be a game-changer for whichever school he ends up attending. He’ll also vault towards the top of 2019 NBA Draft boards around the country now that he’ll officially be eligible for it.