Knicks Target R.J. Barrett Is ‘Arguably The Best Player’ In The NBA Draft: High School Coach

Duke’s R.J. Barrett will likely be “arguably the best player in the NBA Draft” and “just as good” as Zion Williamson, says his highschool coach Kevin Boyle. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)


If the Knicks find yourself getting R.J. Barrett with the No. Three choose within the NBA Draft, they are going to be getting “arguably the best player” within the Draft.

That’s based on his former highschool coach, legendary Montverde (FL) Academy coach Kevin Boyle.

When the NBA Draft arrives on June 20, Barrett figures to be Boyle’s sixth top-Three NBA Draft choose since 2011, a listing that features former No. 1s Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, No. 2s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and D’Angelo Russell and No. Three Joel Embiid, whom Boyle despatched to the Montverde JV staff as a result of he wasn’t but prepared for the varsity.

“If R.J. Barrett is available and ends up going to the Knicks, I think you could make a good case that you got arguably the best player,” Boyle mentioned by cellphone of Barrett, who was the projected No. 1 choose within the Draft getting into the 2018-19 season. “Without question, you could make the argument for Zion [Williamson] and almost everyone does. And the issue is everybody makes it like it’s automatic. But I think R.J. has a very good argument that he was as good in college and that he’ll be as good in the pros.”

Boyle, who gained 5 New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles at St. Patrick High School and 4 Dick’s/GEICO High School National titles at Montverde, predicted a “dogfight” for NBA Rookie of the Year honors between Barrett and Williamson.

“It’s going to be a dogfight for who’s the Rookie of the Year, not an automatic just because [Zion] is the highlight film in terms of dunks,” Boyle mentioned.

The left-handed Canadian has been in comparison with James Harden due to his scoring capacity. Entering his senior season at Montverde (FL) Academy, he led Team Canada to a gold medal within the FIBA U19 World Championship in Egypt, beating a John Calipariled USA staff within the semifinals alongside the best way. Barrett went for 38 factors, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in that recreation after which led Canada to its first gold medal on the worldwide stage with a win over Italy within the last.

At Montverde, Barrett guided the staff to an ideal 35-Zero file as a senior, profitable each main nationwide Player of the Year and the GEICO High School Nationals alongside the best way.

Boyle says folks conveniently overlook — or do not wish to bear in mind — that Barrett gained these awards, not Zion.

“People forget that R.J. Barrett was the USA Today Player of the Year,” Boyle mentioned. “It’s almost like you’re not allowed to mention it because that would be not pleasing to Zion.”

Boyle identified that Barrett led the ACC in scoring at 23.four factors per recreation and set the ACC freshman scoring file.

“He created some incredible stats,” Boyle mentioned. “He’s the all-time leading freshman scorer in the history of the ACC. I mean, who’s done that hasn’t been a star player in the NBA? So I think you’re getting a guy that’s going to be a multiple-time All-Star, a guy that’s incredibly mature on the court and off the court.”

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a fellow Canadian two years older than Barrett, known as him an “elite scorer” who will “bring happiness to Knicks fans.”

Barrett has additionally drawn reward from everybody from Jalen Rose to Isiah Thomas to Coach Ok to Jay Bilas.

“R.J. Barrett could easily be the best player in the draft,” Rose mentioned Wednesday on ESPN’s ‘Get Up!” “If I’m the Knicks, yes I hold on to the pick.”

Duke ahead RJ Barrett (5) reacts after scoring towards Michigan State through the first half of an NCAA males’s East Regional last school basketball recreation in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


As for his character, Boyle mentioned most gamers enjoying alongside Zion “would’ve been upset, bitched and jealous” that Williamson acquired “most of the attention.”

Instead, Barrett labored on his recreation, by no means acquired damage and have become finest pals with Zion.

“He was happy for his teammate and just kept working and playing,” Boyle mentioned. “It never affected him one way or the other, and I think that’s an incredibly mature player. And I think that’s an incredible value to any NBA team, that no matter where you fall, or however much attention you get or don’t get, that you’re going to come to work, be productive, be a good teammate and play your butt off every day. I think that tells a lot about the type of career that he’s going to have, whether he ends up being a star level player or a good player. He’s going to be the same guy and compete every day.”

Barrett got here to Montverde due to a connection to the varsity. Canadian Christopher Egi had performed for Boyle earlier than happening to Harvard. So in September 2015, Rowan Barrett, R.J.’s father, who starred at St. John’s earlier than an abroad professional profession, took a go to with R.J. to test it out.

The college “was as good as any that I’d seen,” Rowan, now the manager vice chairman of Canada Basketball, informed me for this Bleacher Report story. “Academically, all the pieces form of checked off…And then on the court docket, [they were] clearly defensive-minded, disciplined, grinding, getting higher. Constantly, every day. And after I checked out all of the athletes that [Boyle] had within the fitness center, I believed, ‘He’s going to get higher. My son goes to get higher right here.’

“And R.J. was adamant. He was like: ‘I don’t want to see any more schools. This is it.'”

Montverde Academy’s R.J. Barrett #5 is seen towards Mater Dei throughout a highschool basketball recreation on the Hoophall Classic, Monday, January 15, 2018, in Springfield, MA. Montverde gained the sport. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)


Despite all Barrett’s success at Montverde, Boyle continued to get after him in follow to encourage him. One time throughout Barrett’s senior season, Boyle stopped a follow 5 minutes in and commenced yelling and screaming on the staff as a result of he felt it wasn’t ready, although Barrett had arrived 20 minutes early. The complete tirade was geared toward R.J.

“He’s definitely helping me to grow as a leader,” Barrett mentioned. “That’s been the main focus for me this year. Just try to lead the team as best as I can.”

Barrett noticed a similarity in how Boyle, the fiery coach, helped each he and Embiid put together for his or her futures by working them so onerous.

“Yeah, kind of,” he mentioned. “Humble beginnings, came from Canada, came here and just realized that I had to work hard.”

That onerous work now has him in place to be possibly the very best Canadian participant ever, and possibly the very best participant Boyle has ever coached.

Boyle has made some daring, however correct, predictions previously. He predicted that Irving could be the very best guard ever to come back out of New Jersey when Irving got here out of St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J.. He later predicted that Russell could be a multi-year All-Star.

“And I feel confident based on my experience again,” Boyle mentioned, “that R.J.’s going to be a multi-year All-Star player.”


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