Rowan Barrett Jr. (R.J.)
It appears the top-ranked 15-year-old prospect in Canada won’t be staying after all. Last week the family of R.J. Barrett went on a tour of some top U.S. prep schools, despite previous plans of staying home to play for St. Marcellinus S.S. (Mississauga, Ont.) in the recently-formed Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association.
The OSBA — designed to keep the province’s top players north of the border — announced eight participating schools at the beginning of September. The addition of Barrett would have been a boon to the league, but it turns out the Spirit will not be joining in 2015-16, and will remain in the Region of Peel Secondary School Athletic Association (ROPSSAA).
According to a Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board spokesman, the team’s coaches missed out a key step — getting approval from St. Marcellinus administration.
“The school itself never officially applied [to play in the OSBA],” says Bruce Campbell, manager of communications for Dufferin-Peel C.D.S.B. “There was some interest from the principal and the school, however nothing was committed officially from the school. The application was made by community coaches at the time. There was no authorized application process.”
Campbell says that if students were promised they would play in OSBA, it wasn’t done by any agent of the school. If a player transferred assuming he’d be able to play in the new league, they may now be ineligible to play for St. Marcellinus in ROPSSAA and OFSSA under regular transfer rules. However, Campbell questioned how many students could’ve transferred to the school, as St. Marcellinus, with a student body of 1,800, is already at near-capacity.
“This is a school that’s moving towards being capped in terms of enrolment, because it’s really sort of exceeding its enrolment capacity. So next year it will be officially capped… there will be no out-of-boundary kids coming in.”
Campbell said that that participation in a separate league “is definitely a possibility,” but would have to put through the proper process.
“It’s kind of a lengthy process before we enter an outside arrangement like that program. Lots of due diligence would have to have been done — like what’s the impact with the relationship with ROPSSAA?” says Campbell.
“Our programs are geared towards the whole student body, not necessarily to cater to any elite group. Like we offer extracurricular programs — hockey, basketball, etc. — but our goal, first and foremost, is to provide opportunities to our students. And two, ROPSSAA, they play at a pretty high level of competition.”
Former ROPSSAA athletes include Nik Stauskus (Loyola Catholic, Mississauga) and Anthony Bennett (Harold M. Brathwaite, Brampton).
At the time of the publishing of this article R.J. Barrett’s decision on his next high school had not been made.
Stay tuned to On Point for his decision as soon as it’s made known.
Photo of Rowan Barrett Jr. by Charles Vanegas
Edited by Drew Ebanks