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Pitino On RJ Barrett: “Amazing”

As his improvement continues to impress

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 2: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks passes the ball to Nerlens Noel #3 of the New York Knicks during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 2, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

When you read what Rick Pitino, who is still coaching the Greek National team, says about RJ Barrett, on the one hand, it sounds like a back-handed compliment which is exactly what the New York Post calls it. Check it out:

“Barrett in college couldn’t really shoot a 12-foot shot, and I absolutely love players that work at their game and get better. I’m obviously a big Knicks fan, so I’m a big RJ fan. But the fact that he’s improved so much is amazing to me.”

“If you give him his left hand, he’s unstoppable. He’s strong. He’s tough.”

The key to this is what he says about working at his game.

There’s no question at this point that Barrett is a guy willing to put in the time to get better. Last year, he had a lot of nice aspect to his game but people had clearly lowered their expectations. There was even trade talk.

Not anymore.

Barrett is a cornerstone of New York’s future and one of the brightest stars in the NBA. And if New York is able to lure Duke buddy Zion Williamson when he is a free agent, Barrett will be a major part of that too, just as he’s a huge part of Canada’s Olympic hopes.

As we’ve said before, the Canadians aren’t that far from being home to the second best talent in the world and we see them as a rising international power in the sport.

Barrett’s rise, in the NBA and internationally, is just beginning.