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Duke men's basketball's R.J. Barrett declares for 2019 NBA Draft

R.J. Barrett will be off to the NBA Draft after one season at Duke.
R.J. Barrett will be off to the NBA Draft after one season at Duke.

R.J. Barrett entered the collegiate chapter of his basketball career as the No. 1 player in his class, so it’s no surprise that the chapter was short.

The one-and-done announced he will declare for the NBA draft via Instagram and Twitter Wednesday, and will likely be followed by Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish in the coming days.

"It was amazing to play for Coach K, play for the brotherhood. It was a dream of mine to play at Duke ever since I was a young kid. It's also a dream of mine to play in the NBA and have great success there," Barrett said in the social media video. "I'm looking forward to coming back and supporting the Blue Devils any way I can."

Although Barrett had a historic season, his greatest competitor for the top pick in June happens to be his roommate. With the unique athleticism and charisma that Zion Williamson holds, it’s likely that Barrett’s gameday carpooling buddy will come out on top, as many mock drafts show Williamson as the first pick, with Barrett following as a close second or third along with Murray State's Ja Morant.


 

The young Canadian put up at least 13 points in all of Duke's games this season and ended as the Blue Devils' leading scorer. While other starters—Williamson, Reddish, Tre Jones and Marques Bolden—each spent some time on the bench due to injuries, Barrett’s presence on the court remained consistent as one of the team's only two players to appear in every game.

"From start to finish, R.J. was there every second," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a press release. "He’s just so advanced for this stage of his career. He comes from an incredible family, he’s a winner in every sense, and it was so special to have R.J. in our program.”

From the first night of the season against Kentucky, Barrett set the tone for how viable he would be on the court for the remainder of the season. The 6-foot-7 freshman star stunned the nation with 33 points in 32 minutes, breaking the record for most points made by a freshman in his debut. He went on to set the ACC's freshman record for total points with 860 and is second in single-season points among all Blue Devils, behind only J.J. Redick's senior year.

Barrett scored an average of 22.6 points per game and posted a triple-double against N.C. State, just the fourth time in program history a player accomplished that feat.

Barrett was a consensus first-team All-American and USA Today's National Player of the Year.

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