R.J. Barrett with the block during Cadet Training Camp Summer 2015
The top-ranked 15-year-old, 2019 player in Canada is taking his talents south. On Tuesday, the father of R.J. Barrett (Team Canada Sr. Men’s Assistant GM Rowan Barrett Sr.) confirmed to On Point’s Drew Ebanks that he is moving to the outskirts of Orlando to attend Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), one of the top U.S. high school programs, for the 2015-16 season.
Originally the family had planned to watch R.J. stay at home, playing for St. Marcellinus Secondary School (Mississauga, Ont.) in the newly-formed Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association — an elite-level league designed to keep some of the province’s top players north of the border.
But when St. Marcellinus’ participation in the league fell through, plans changed, and the Barrett’s made the trip south last week to check out the school. The family’s top priority is said to be the academics of the school, and they view the success of junior national team captain Chris Egi (a Montverde alum who now plays at Harvard) as evidence of the school’s ability to prepare players for the next level, both on the court and in the classroom.
Montverde makes no bones about striving to field an elite basketball team, with a $6.5 million facility and alumni throughout the NBA, including 2015 #2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell. The Eagles captured their third straight national championship in April, winning 70-61 over the famed Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at Madison Square Garden.
Simisola Shittu at during Cadet Training Camp Summer 2015
But perhaps the biggest allure for R.J. is being united with close friends and national team teammates Simisola Shittu (Burlington, Ont.) and Marcus Carr (Vaughan, Ont.) — the respective #1 and #2 prospects from the 2018 Canadian class, according to North Pole Hoops.
The trio earned silver medals at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 championship in Argentina, finishing with a 4-1 record and earned a spot in next year’s U17 FIBA World Championships.
They’ll join fellow Canadian Howard Washington Jr. (Buffalo, N.Y.), a senior point guard who has verbally committed to Butler University (NCAA).
Photos by Charles Vanegas
Edited by Drew Ebanks