For the third straight year, Duke will bring the top recruit in the ESPN 100 to Durham.
Five-star forward R.J. Barrett announced on TSN Friday evening that he will be taking his talents to the Blue Devils next season. The Canadian is now the third Class of 2018 commitment for Duke in the early signing period, joining top point guard Tre Jones and No. 3 overall prospect Cameron Reddish to commit to play for head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The No. 1 recruits in 2016 and 2017 were Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley III, respectively.
Barrett, who attends Montverde Academy in Florida, chose the Blue Devils ahead of Kentucky and Oregon shortly after dropping Arizona from his list in the midst of an FBI investigation impacting the team.
Barrett is a dominant physical force, with a 6-foot-10 wingspan to go along with an athletic 6-foot-6 frame. He attacks the rim with long strides and is best known for changing speeds en route to the hoop and finishing through contact. Although he is best known for slashing and scoring in the paint, Barrett can also shoot the 3-pointer when he is open.
During the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup, Barrett showed why he is the best recruit in his class, leading Canada to the Gold Medal. He scored 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a semifinal victory against a U.S. team that featured current Kentucky players Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington, top-15 2018 recruits in Reddish, Romeo Langford and Immanuel Quickley and Georgia Tech's second-team preseason All-ACC guard Josh Okogie.
In the tournament, Barrett averaged 21.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game on 43.9 percent shooting from the field. In the Nike EYBL two months earlier in May, the forward averaged a double-double with 28.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
In terms of fit for the team, Krzyzewski loves using versatile forwards–à la Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum–and will have two weapons to employ in Reddish and Barrett. It will be interesting to see how the two feed off one another and the sets the coaching staff will draw up for the elite scoring duo.
With already an impressive recruiting haul, the next question is where the coaching staff moves from here. Although there is a chance the Blue Devils land Zion Williamson and hold the top three players in the class, Duke is not expected to be the leading contender for his services. The Blue Devils have not established significant ties with any other recruits in the 2019 class, so that will be a situation to monitor when the early signing period ends.