SPRINGFIELD — The nation’s premier players in the Class of 2019 showed off an impressive arsenal of skills at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions held at Missouri State in Springfield
RJ Barrett, a long, athletic 6’7 point guard that can rebound, pass, handle the ball and create plays, Barrett has already created a significant recruiting buzz drawing a host of high major offers.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Barrett spent the offseason competing for UPlay in the Nike 16U EYBL and says the experience helped make him a better player.
“I was trying to work on my shooting and a little bit of everything,” he said.
Barrett said competing in the Tournament of Champions in front of some of the largest crowds any high school event will draw was a good experience. Montverde knocked off local favorite Kickapoo in the first round and advanced to face Memphis East in a semifinal contest. Memphis East is among the nation’s top ranked high school programs and have already split a pair of games this season against Montverde.
“It was a good atmosphere especially with us playing a team from Missouri,” Barrett said. “Just great to play against such great competition in a great tournament against good teams.”
Barrett said he lets his dad and coaches handle his recruiting, but has offers from Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, UCLA, USC and Missouri where the TofC is being played. On Thursday, Kentucky head coach John Calipari was in attendance to watch Barrett after watching Kentucky signee PJ Washington compete in the previous contest.
Barrett says he enjoys watching some of the NBAs best players and tries to implement elements of their game into his own.
“In the NBA I like to watch LeBron James and James Harden because they are both great leaders and can score the basketball so that’s who I try to get my game like.”
Montverde features a slew of high level players with several players already committed to high major college programs. Barrett says the team has high expectations for the remainder of the season.
“We have a lot of potential,” he said. “We are close on and off the court and most importantly we play a lot of great defense so that gives us a great chance to win a lot of games.”