NBA

R.J. Barrett named Naismith high school basketball player of the year

Canadian small forward R.J. Barrett was named the 2018 Naismith high school boys' player of the year on Friday.

Mississauga, Ont., native is 2nd Canadian to win prestigious award

R.J. Barrett, right, was named the 2018 Naismith high school boys' player of the year on Friday. The small forward is only the second Canadian to win the prestigious award and first since Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins captured the honour following his 2013 season at Huntington Prep. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Canadian small forward R.J. Barrett was named the 2018 Naismith high school boys' player of the year on Friday.

Barrett, from Mississauga, Ont., led Florida's Montverde Academy to an undefeated 31-0 regular season.

The 17-year-old Barrett, who will play next season at Duke University in Durham, N.C., becomes just the second Canadian to win the prestigious award and first since Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins captured the honour following his 2013 season at Huntington Prep.

Barrett helped Canada capture a historic gold medal at the FIBA under-19 basketball World Cup last summer. He was named MVP after leading Canada to a 79-60 victory over Italy in the final for the country's first-ever gold medal in a FIBA world championship or Olympic event.

Barrett was the tournament's leading scorer, averaging 21.6 points per game, to go along with 8.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.7 steals.

He led Montverde to titles at the IYBS Invitational (Beijing, China), Iolani Classic (Honolulu, Hawaii), Beach Ball Classic (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), Hoophall Classic (Springfield, Mass.) and Metro Classic (Union, N.J.), earning MVP honours at each tournament.

Named in honour of Dr. James Naismith, the Canadian creator of basketball, the first Naismith trophy was awarded in 1969 to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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