RJ Barrett has been a Canadian basketball hero since he was in high school. His NBA career has been a bit up-and-down, but when he dons that sacred Canadian maple leaf, you know you’re about to see a show.
That’s what happened Sunday afternoon (Eastern Standard Time), as RJ damn near single-handedly took down a tough German squad in a warmup to the FIBA World Cup.
How good was RJ on Sunday? Try 31 points on 13-14 shooting, 4-4 from three. Try scoring 11 of Canada’s last 17 points, including the game-tying bucket with 4.6 seconds left in regulation as the Canadians held on in OT for the 113-112 win.
Based on their NBA resumes, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be Team Canada’s unquestioned star. Shai was pretty good himself (25 points), but it was clear late in the game that this was RJ’s show. FIBA refs are far tougher on foul-baiting than their NBA counterparts, but RJ still got to the rim at will and hit layups time after time. And of course, the three-point shooting speaks for itself.
RJ & his friends from the North are coming for the Cup pic.twitter.com/mNHPzsbN7R— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) August 13, 2023
If Jamal Murray were playing, this Canada club might really make some noise in the World Cup. Alas, they’ll probably go as far as Shai and RJ can take them. It should be a fun watch!
P.S. Team USA just finished up a win against Spain, and Jalen Brunson was awesome. We’ll write about that soon enough. I wanted to give RJ his flowers first.