Freshman R.J. Barrett (@rjbarrett6) (Mississauga, Ont) became the first Canadian basketball player to record a triple-double in a NCAA men’s division one basketball game in 35 years.
The No. 2 Duke Blue Devils continued their March towards the Madness with a 94-78 win over the visiting the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Barrett took full advantage of his 37 minutes on his way to his first collegiate triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and an impressive zero turnovers.
Barrett’s efforts put him in elite company as only the fourth Duke player to reach the feat and the first Blue Devils’ triple double since 2006. And if that wasn’t jaw dropping enough, he is also the first Duke Freshman to do it since Gene Banks did it way back in 1987.
Even more impressive, is that fact that well over 2000 plus Canadians in the past 35 seasons have registered their names on official NCAA basketball scoresheets, but only one other was capable of accomplishing the elusive feat.
One would have to bypass some elite Canadian basketball names including Steve Nash, Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Pangos, Cory Joseph, Tyler Ennis, Jamal Magloire, Tristan Thompson, Khem Birch and many others.
One would’ve to dig up and dust off the cobwebs off the Syracuse Orangemen record books to find Leo Rautins’ name.
Rautins’ a Canadian basketball prodigy of his own, is responsible for the last Canadian triple-double BasketballBuzz could find against NCAA division one teams, with 13 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds against Boston College on February 19, 1983. A talented Rautins notched three career triple-doubles in two seasons, including two in less than 40 days apart.
Recently, several Canadian players including Barrett himself have come close to adding their names to the conversation. R.J. nearly missed out with his most dominant game of his career, a 23 points, 16 rebounds, 9 assists outburst in Duke’s only second loss of the season as they fell in overtime 95-91 to same Head Coach that coached and recruited Rautins, as the Syracuse Orange pulled off the upset on January 14, 2019.
Current freshman Dalano Banton (Western Kentucky) came up two points shy with a 8 point, 13 rebound and 10 assist outing against the Wisconsin Badgers on December 29, 2018. Former Kentucky Wildcats’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and current Clippers’ point guard came close with a 17 point, 10 assist and 7 rebound effort against Ole Miss on Feb 24. 2018.
Montreal’s Khem Birch (Orlando Magic) nearly took down the record on three occasions during his second season with the UNLV Rebels, including a 11 point, 12 rebound and 9 block outing versus New Mexico on February 15, 2014. Birch, a shot blocking phenom also had two other games with 8 blocks and finished his career with 211 swats in just 53 NCAA career games, translating to an unheard of 4 blocks per game.
With so much talent surrounding R.J. Barrett, it wouldn’t be surprising if he notched at least one more triple-double before his collegiate career is enshrined as the best ever by a Canadian.
Note: For clarification purposes, Godwin Boahen (Toronto, Ont.) a Junior point guard from the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames officially recorded a triple-double during his freshman season (2016-2017) against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Roosevelt Lakers’ putting up 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in only his 13th game on December 22nd, 2016. However, given that this game wasn’t against official NCAA competition it was therefore excluded.
Toronto NCAA basketball triple-header to feature big names
For the past 20 years NCAA basketball teams have been making the trip north of the border to take on Canadian U Sports teams in early August as part of the NCAA vs. U Sports exhibition series.
Now it looks like we are ready for the next step — regular season, non-conference games between NCAA schools on fertile Canadian basketball
According to multiple reports, a massive six-team, non-conference,
Sponsored by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame — the South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC) will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big 10). The Buffalo Bulls (MAC) will face the Harvard Crimson (Ivy) and the Tennessee Volunteers (SEC) will square off against the Pac 12 champions Washington Huskies.
A total of seven Canadian’s could be featured in the marque homecoming event including, South Carolina’s standout freshman A.J. Lawson (Toronto), Rutgers’ Eugene Omoruyi (Rexdale, Ont.), Harvard’s Danilo Djuricic Brampton, Ont.), and Luka Sakota (Oakville, Ont.). The Crimson also features Ottawa, Ont. duo Noah Kirkwood and Corey Johnson. Buffalo’s Dominic Johnson (Windsor, Ont.) would round-out the potential list.
Omoruyi a 6’7″, 234-pound bruising senior forward is coming off of his best season — leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring and rebounds at a respective 13.8 and 7.2 per game.
Lawson a 6’6″ 172 lbs guard is currently testing the NBA Draft process after averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for head coach Frank Martin.
Noah Kirkwood (6’7, 215 lbs) guard had a productive freshman season with 11.1 rebounds, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists as the Crimson (18-11, 10-4 Conf) just missed out on the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament with a close loss to Yale in the conference title game.
The Buffalo Bulls’ are coming off their most successful season in the program’s history with an outstanding 32-4, 16-2 record and a six-seed in the West region.
South Carolina had it’s up’s and down’s with a 16-16, 11-7 SEC conference record — Rutgers’ is looking to improve from their 14-17 record, 7-13 in Big 10.
The marquee match-up pits the Tennessee Volunteers against the Washington Huskies. Tennessee finished second in the SEC with a strong 31-6, 15-3 campaign for head coach Rick Barnes – bowing out to Purdue in the Sweet 16.
The Huskies, although not a traditional Canadian destination, will become the first NCAA men’s basketball team to make back-to-back trips to Canada.
In 2018 the Vancouver Showcase tipped off — bringing four NCAA men’s (Washington, Santa Clara, Minnesota, Texas A&M) and eight women’s basketball team’s to the west coast of Canada — marking the first time NCAA division one games played in Canada counted as non-conference records.
With Toronto continuously out-churning the mecca (New York City) and other traditional American powerhouses for quality NCAA and NBA basketball prospects — it makes more than dollars and cents — much like the Empire Classic — to ensure that the northern city that never sleeps has it’s annual NCAA regular season dosage.
The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Ionescu
There’s no business, like unfinished business.
Most great basketball stars take their smartphone penmanship to ‘The Players Tribune’ to announce a change of game and mind move to greener pastures, which seems to be the new trend like Kung Fu Kenny headbands. But not the green duck of Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu. In a pen drop moment she dropped the mic as she made a declaration like Leonardo DiCaprio staring at all that love in the boardroom in ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’.
“I’m not f##### leaving!”
O.K. she didn’t say it quite like that. Rather more eloquently in the form of a love letter to her state and basketball mind. She may have that Eurostep stop on a dime from downtown that puts in that change and pops the button like James Harden. She may have film broke down by the mamba mentality of the one and only Kobe Bryant. Or articles wrote about her by this writers’ writing inspiration Shea Serrano of The Ringer. She may have even gone number one if she put in her draft card this year.
But the WNBA can wait.
Green with envy and legendary shades she may be the next great of this game like the Storm of Sue Bird to Breanna Stewart. She’s the type of player that’s so good to watch she could even get away with taking more steps than ladders like most of those NBA folks. But no! An inspired Ionescu is doing things the right way. After being made by Baylor, the ducks will quack again. And they will do so with their top billing. Sabrina will return for one last run. She’s got the rest of her playing career to be a WNBA legend for whatever team from the Sparks to Mercury picks her. But the Pac-12 Wade trophy winner has only got one last chance at a Final Four dance after the madness that is March.
Just look at the above picture. She’s only got so long for this. To be a kid. She may be far from ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’, but this maturing talent is still young. To be that again, we should just be happy she still has that chance. One chance to make the Ducks mighty again. To have those best years of your life with the best friends you’ll ever meet. These are her memories. Her signed sneakers and scissored nets. Who are any of us to take that away. We can wait. As her parquet paths next year to the big leagues will be like this season’s road to Zion.
The two time Nancy Lieberman award winner will take her L ready 19.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds averages to one last ride and stand in Oregon. Flying with the 18 record of the most career triple doubles in NCAA history. She won’t be in New York next month, but she’ll be writing in more history books next year as other teams bet it all on some bouncing balls. And if you think this game is all about the big league and the big payday, then this outstanding Oregon statement doesn’t give a duck.
“I won’t predict exactly how far we’re going to go….. but I’ll just say this. We have unfinished business. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
Time to get back to work and take everyone back to school.