Kevin Boyle is right about a lot of things in this article.
Certainly he’s right that RJ Barrett could be the best player in the draft. He’s a brilliant talent.
And absolutely he could end up being the NBA Rookie of the Year. He’s a brilliant player. And he’s also right about Barrett’s maturity and willingness to share the spotlight.
In his zeal to level the field a bit though between Duke stars he slights Zion Williamson a bit by saying stuff like “[p]eople forget that R.J. Barrett was the USA Today Player of the Year. It’s almost like you’re not allowed to mention it because that would be not pleasing to Zion.”
And he also said that most guys would have struggled playing next to Williamson and “would’ve been upset, bitched and jealous” about Williamson “getting most of the attention.”
This is a stupid argument and not worthy of a guy of his accomplishments and intelligence. What made them special together was their chemistry and that neither cared much to be the center of attention.
We’ve talked before about Williamson’s emotional intelligence, which we saw at Duke when he said that “it’s RJ’s team” and when he quietly went to staff to say that there was too much attention on him and that other guys should get some (he addressed this in a remarkable way by including walk-on Mike Buckmire in his interviews).
The reason why people got excited about Williamson initially was because of his unusual body paired with immense athleticism but then people realized that, like Barrett, he’s a really good kid, exceptionally well grounded and also like Barrett a superb teammate.
It’s really unfortunate that he felt a need to express himself this way. He’s right about Barrett’s game and character but he doesn’t need to go after another kid, especially one who has also shown great character.
We hope that whatever happens around them they always retain the friendship they found at Duke because it was truly beautiful even from a distance.
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