RJ Barrett Announced as The Gatorade National Player of the Year
RJ Barrett of Montverde Academy has been awarded the 2018 Gatorade National Player of the Year and is now on the verge of sweeping the high school player of the year awards. This feat has only been done in 2003 by LeBron James.
The Gatorade National Player of the Year award was created in 1985 and given to the most elite high school student-athlete in their respective sport for their commitment to athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.
Barrett has been fully deserving of this award being the No. 1 ranked player for his class, driving his team to a perfect 31-0 record this season. Barrett not only led his team on the court, where the 6’7 forward averaged 28 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per game in his senior season but was also a leader off the court achieving a 3.1 GPA.
Barrett becomes just the second Canadian to ever win the award, with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins being the first in 2013 playing for Huntington Prep.
This month has cemented Barrett’s place as the most decorated high school player in Canadian history.
Barrett was previously named The Gatorade State Player of the Year for Florida and then selected on March 8 to compete in the Jordan Brand Classic. His teammate and fellow Canadian Andrew Nembhard was also selected along with another Canadian, Simi Shittu. The 17th annual Jordan Brand Classic will take place on April 8 and returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Duke University commit on Mar. 9 was awarded with the 2018 Naismith High School Boys’ Player of the Year. Once again, he became only the second Canadian to ever win the award. Wiggins won the award in 2013.
The awards and honours did not end there for the Mississauga native. Barrett was awarded with 2018 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year on March 13, which recognizes the top high school senior who displays outstanding leadership and character on and off the court as well as embodying the true meaning of a student-athlete. Previous winners of this McDonald’s established award include Lebron James (2003) and Ben Simmons (2015).
Barrett will be headlining a stacked McDonald’s All American All-Star game in Atlanta. The game is set for March 28 where Barrett will once again be playing against long-time friend Shittu. Following this, RJ will rejoin his teammates in New York.
Barrett’s incredible month can continue at the end of March as he battle for A High School National Championship. His Montverde team will travel to New York City to take part in the GEICO High School National Tournament. Montverde is the No. 1 seed and will begin their tournament on March 29 against Lone Peak.
Following this season, Barrett will headline a very powerful Duke recruiting class, including Tre Jones who was a top three finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. Duke will go into next season with the only team with three 5 Star recruits and will begin the year as heavy favourites to win the National Championship. This would make Barrett only the sixth Canadian to win an NCAA title, the last being Kyle Wiltjer when he won with Kentucky in 2012.
Barrett has proven to be a winner at the highest levels of his young career. He will look to add to an already impressive trophy case that includes a World Championship and these four personal awards. What’s next for RJ? A High School National Championship? A NCAA Championship?