05 Nov Getting to Know R.J. Barrett
Two years ago, RJ Barrett was the best player on the best high school team in the country, leading Montverde, Florida Academy to a 35-0 record. One year later, he starred at Duke as a freshman on the most dominant team in college basketball. This past year, R.J. was drafted by the Knicks 3rd overall in last years NBA draft. He is now considered the #1 option on the Knicks. R. J. comes from an athletic family. His father, Rowan Barrett Sr., played for St. John’s in college and professionally in Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, France and Italy. His mother, Kesha, was a star sprinter and long jumper at St. John’s.
Name: Rowan Alexander “RJ” Barrett Jr.
Nick Name: Maple Mamba
Born: June 14, 2000 (age 19) in Toronto, Ontario
Height: 6 ft 6 in Weight: 202 lb
Position: Shooting guard / Small forward
College: Duke (2018–2019)
NBA draft: 2019 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall- Selected by the New York Knicks
How excited are you to be playing in New York? Very. I have a lot of family in New York & I’ve spent many of my summers in New York. My mother is from Brooklyn. A couple of blocks away from Flatbush.
What do you love about New York? Everybody is always busy & running around doing something. The fans in New York are great. The Knicks history is great!
Which team & players did you love growing up? I always loved the Knicks. Because I’m young, I use to watch older games. I liked watching the Knicks versus the Pacers. I loved watching John Starks.
Favorite NBA guys growing up? Lebron & Giannis.
At what point did you know that you wanted to play in the NBA? I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to basketball when I was 11 years old. I went to the United States from Europe because I felt it was the best opportunity for me to challenge myself, and it has helped me tremendously.
Who pushed you along to be an NBA basketball player? Definitely my father. He taught me how to shoot, dribble and pass at a very young age. My father is the executive vice president and assistant general manager of Canada Basketball.
How do you think you are going to like to play wing in the NBA? I love being a wing because I feel like they can play the point guard position a little but then they can also get down there, down low with the bigs. I feel like that’s the perfect position to be and I’m really excited to see how my game translates.
Steve Nash is a two-time MVP and eight-time All-Star. He is a Basketball Hall of Famer and one of the greatest point guards of all time. He is also you godfather. He believes that you can be as good, if not better than him in the NBA. Has Steve Nash given you any advice going into your first season? He just really told me to continue to work hard. The work ethic – that’s how he became a two-time MVP.
What is your goal for your rookie year? To win Rookie of the Year & make the playoffs.