The Knicks took Duke freshman RJ Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Learn more about the 6-7 swingman, his ties to the New York area and what he can bring on the court.
RJ Barrett's family ties, background
Barrett's father, Rowan Barrett, was a small forward/shooting guard for St. John's from 1992-96. The elder Barrett, a forward from Toronto, averaged 5.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 98 games in college before spending 12 seasons in Europe and South America. He also played for the Canadian men's national basketball team. He earned silver in the 1999 FIBA AmeriCup and was a captain on the 2000 Summer Olympics squad. Rowan Barrett now is the Canadian national team’s executive vice president and assistant general manager.
Barrett's mother, Kesha Barrett, was a nationally ranked sprinter for St. John's. His maternal aunt, Dahliah Duhaney, was part of Jamaica's gold-medal 4x100-meter relay team at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo.
In addition, Barrett said during pre-draft availability that his late grandfather was "the biggest Knicks fan," adding that he "always told me I’d play for the Knicks.”
Barertt's godfather is Basketball Hall of Famer Steve Nash, who works alongside Rowan Barrett on the Canadian national team.
RJ Barrett in high school
Barrett competed for one season with the Brampton Warriors AAU team in 2014-15 while attending high school career at St. Marcellinus Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. He then transferred to Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., and was invited to the Jordan Brand Classic as a freshman, winning MVP with a 22-point, eight-rebound performance. played there for three seasons before reclassifying to the 2018 class in July 2017. He ended his high school career as the No. 1-ranked high school prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports and was named McDonald's All-American (scoring 26 points in the game), Gatorade National Player of the Year, Mr. Basketball USA, Naismith Prep Player of the Year, Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year and Nike Hoop Summit MVP (20 points, nine rebounds, six assists, five steals).
RJ Barrett at Duke
Barrett chose Duke over Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky and Michigan. Playing alongside a star-studded cast of Blue Devils that included fellow freshman phenoms Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, Barrett was named first-team AP All-American, averaging an ACC-best 22.6 points and hauling in 7.6 rebounds in 38 games as Duke reached the Elite Eight. He scored at least 13 points in every game and had six 30-point outings.
RJ Barrett on the international stage
Barrett was a member of the gold-medal Canadian team at the 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Egypt. He averaged 21.6 points per game, including 38 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists in a semifinal win over the U.S., and was named tournament MVP.
Of the crowd’s positive reaction, the star from Duke said, “That was great. I'm glad that the city wants me here as much as I want to be here.”