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Rising hoops star R.J. Barrett getting Wiggins-level hype

It’s been just about 5 years since Andrew Wiggins first took the ground for the University of Kansas, accompanied through a mound of expectancies.

The Vaughan, Ont., local used to be the highest incoming basketball recruit from the highschool magnificence of 2013, have been nicknamed “Maple Jordan” and seemed at the duvet of Sports Illustrated, which when compared him to Kansas greats Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning. That 12 months, each and every probably the most freshman’s regular-season video games have been broadcast nationally in Canada.

No Canadian faculty basketball participant has been so intensely adopted, however the hype now surrounding R.J. Barrett would possibly make him an in depth 2nd.

Barrett, who will attend Duke University q4, introduced his faculty selection on reside tv ultimate November — a transfer that is develop into standard for most sensible possibilities within the United States.

Like Wiggins again in 2013, Barrett is the highest canine on this 12 months’s freshman magnificence and will probably be a “one and done” participant as he is anticipated to go away faculty after this season to go into the 2019 NBA draft. Some observers assume the 6-foot-7 guard might be taken No.1 total.

R.J. Barrett is primed to practice in his father’s footsteps as a Canadian basketball icon. 10:23

He’ll even be becoming a member of probably the most prestigious methods in collegiate hoops and taking part in for the all time winningest trainer in NCAA Division I males’s basketball historical past in Mike Krzyzewski.

There are a lot of parallels between the 2 phenoms, but in addition some variations consistent with Bill Self, who coached Wiggins for his lone season of school ball.

“R.J. has a ton of hype going into college. A ton. But Andrew was maybe even a different level. R.J. may be getting a lot more hype if Andrew didn’t come before him,” Self instructed newshounds eventually week’s FIBA U18 Americas event in St. Catharines, Ont.

“But they’re both terrific players. I think R.J. has more of an assassin-type mentality than Andrew did at that stage. But there wasn’t a better young person to coach than Andrew Wiggins. He was a 10 when it comes to that.”

Killer intuition

Barrett, 18, confirmed that killer intuition with a 38-point efficiency in Canada’s shocking 99-87 disappointed of the United States in ultimate 12 months’s FIBA U19 World Cup semifinal.

The Mississauga, Ont., local stuck the eye of many within the basketball international, together with the head trainer of the University of North Carolina, Roy Williams.


The hall-of-famer admits he did not practice Barrett intently after he dedicated to archrival Duke early within the signing duration, however Williams nonetheless got here away inspired with what he did see, particularly in that event.

“He had a great run last year at the [U19 World Cup]. They beat the U.S.A. and he was very phenomenal. We know they’re getting a great player,” Williams mentioned.

Transition duration 

But, without reference to skill, Williams says there is a transition duration for each and every first-year participant.

“Every freshman, it’s such an adjustment for them. The more gifted you are, of course it’s a lot easier adjusting,” mentioned the two-time Associated Press trainer of the 12 months. “But the better players and the kids who are tougher mentally always seem to make that adjustment quicker.”

Before embarking on a 15-year NBA profession, Danny Manning excelled right through his time in Lawrence, Kan., and left because the Jayhawks’ all-time main scorer and a countrywide champion.

Stepping onto campus, one of the crucial new issues that he dealt have been the problem of time control off the courtroom and greater depth and athleticism on it.

Manning agreed with Williams in that his mindset used to be crucial in making the bounce from highschool senior to school freshman.

“It’s difficult for everyone. But it’s something that you’ve been looking forward to,” mentioned the No.1 total select within the 1988 NBA draft. “You just gotta grind through it, do the best you can, try to learn from your mistakes, and try not to repeat mistakes.”

‘Be a sponge’

A hectic summer time awaits Barrett, along with his first name as much as Canada’s senior nationwide staff on the finish of this month and Duke’s pre-season exhibition excursion of Canada starting in August in his fatherland.

Before he even performs a unmarried regular-season collegiate recreation, Barrett’s Blue Devils are a well-liked selection to chop down the nets on the finish of March Madness subsequent 12 months.

It used to be the similar for Manning after his personal embellished highschool profession that integrated USA Today’s All-USA first staff honours and being named Mr. Kansas Basketball in 1984 as the most efficient participant within the state.

The present Wake Forest University head trainer went directly to develop into probably the most completed avid gamers within the historical past of school basketball and used to be named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in Kansas’ nationwide identify run in 1988.

Manning’s recommendation for Barrett is similar he provides any freshman.  

“Be a sponge. You’re playing for a great coach. You play in a great league, just take it all in and play hard,” Manning mentioned. “You want to show your new teammates that you’re a team guy. You’re going to help your team be successful. You want to show people that you belong in terms of being able to compete at that level.”

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