Once forming a one-two punch with former Duke teammate Zion Williamson, standout forward R.J. Barrett is slated as a top-5 pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. 

The Canada native tied Williamson for a team-best in points per game (22.6) and finished second in rebounds per game (7.6) and assists per game (4.3) last season. 

As a pure scorer with abilities that translate to the NBA level, Barrett is a highly anticipated talent. Let’s delve into the history that led the prospect to this point in his career. 

Get to know Barrett: 2019 statistics and biography

College Duke
Height 6-foot-7
Weight 203 pounds
Hometown Mississauga, Ontario
Date of birth June 14, 2000 (19 years old)
Point per game 22.6
Rebounds per game 7.6
Assists per game 4.3
Blocks per game 0.4
Steals per game 0.9
Field goal percentage 45.4
Free throw percentage 66.5

R.J. Barrett’s NBA Draft projection

The 2018 top-ranked high school recruit declared for the draft in early April. He’s projected as the third-overall pick to the New York Knicks by almost every expert analyst. We looked at a handful of mock drafts created by NBA.comCBS SportsSports Illustrated and USA Today and he was third in each — though that could change. In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, ESPN’s John Givony reported the Knicks could take Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland. 

R.J. Barrett’s Biography

Rowan “R.J.” Barrett was born in Toronto, Ont., and spent much of his life moving from place to place for his father’s professional basketball career.

According to Forbes, the left-handed playmaker spent time growing up in France and is fluent in French. But he played high school hoops in Ontario for a year before transferring to powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida for his final two seasons. 

MORE: Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett made sure Duke didn’t have to worry about getting upset

Barrett cemented his prep legacy in the Sunshine State, landing a spot on the McDonald’s All-American squad and winning Gatorade National Player of the Year and Naismith Prep Player of the Year. 

In 2017, he added another achievement to his resume after winning the FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup MVP award and guiding Canada to the gold medal. 

The prestigious recruit earned offers from a multitude of historic basketball schools other than Duke including Indiana, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA, USC, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

After reclassifying to the 2018 class, Barrett started his collegiate career a year early, stating he was “ready to move up” and hang with the Blue Devils, per the Toronto Sun

R.J. Barrett’s Blue Devils Career

At Duke this past season, the versatile shooter made a name for himself as a prolific scorer with an advanced offensive skill set. 

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Barrett was named an AP All-American and led the ACC in per-game scoring – he tallied at least 13 points in all 38 contests. But the likely NBA small forward also led his team in turnovers.

Nonetheless, he took on a workhorse role in his single collegiate season, playing in all 38 matchups and averaging a roster-leading 35 minutes per game.

Leaving his mark on the program, he was the first Blue Devils player since 2006 to notch a triple-double and was an integral part of earning the team a No. 1 ranking in the last AP Top 25 poll of the 2018-19 campaign. 

R.J. Barrett’s Highlights

Now wait just a minute, Zion. 

READ: Zion Williamson vs. R.J. Barrett : Who’s the more impactful Duke basketball freshman?

Williamson isn’t the only player with the ability to throw down vicious slams. Barrett put an exclamation point on a Duke victory in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinal with this ferocious windmill dunk. 

Williamson and Barrett went together like peas and carrots in college. Here’s an off-the-backboard assist and two-handed jam sequence against Hartford from the dynamic duo themselves.