R.J. Barrett’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Getty R.J. Barrett, now of Duke.

R.J. Barrett joined Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish in committing to Duke University ahead of the 2018-19 college basketball season, forming easily the most star-studded recruiting class in the nation.

The 6’7″ wing out of Montverde Academy in Florida gained Naismith Prep Player of the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year honors in 2018, and unsurprisingly was the class’s consensus top recruit.

His dynamism didn’t come out of nowhere — Barrett gets his athleticism from his parents, who were also top-shelf athletes in their day.

Here’s what you need to know about R.J. Barrett’s family.

R.J. Barrett’s Dad Was a Professional Basketball Player

Barrett’s father, Rowan Barrett, was born on November 24, 1972, in Ontario, Canada. He hooped at St. John’s University for four seasons, averaging 10.4 points per game as a senior. Rowan then played professionally in Argentina, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Venezuela, and in 2004, he was named the 2004 Guard of the Year in the French Pro A League, according to Canada Basketball’s website.

He also represented Canada in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, averaging 12.7 points per game. His team finished in seventh.

His Mom and Aunt Were Great Athletes Too

Rowan met R.J.’s mom, Kesha, at St. John’s, where she was a sprinter on the track and field team.

Kesha’s sister, Dahlia Duhaney, R.J.’s aunt, represented Jamaica as a sprinter at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and ran track at Louisiana State University. At the 1991 World Championships, she won gold in the 4×100-meter relay, with teammates Juliet Cuthbert, Beverly McDonald, and Merlene Ottey.

The Family Lived in France From 2003 to 2008

R.J. was born in Toronto on June 14, 2000, but he soon lived overseas while his dad balled in Europe.

“When we started having children we wanted to settle in one country, get a language and some normality, and we decided on France,” Rowan told Slam. “We were in a town called Dijon, another called Chalon and another, Lyon, in southern France. It was a soccer country, so R.J. played both soccer and basketball and ran a little track, but his passion was always basketball.”

Steve Nash Is R.J.’s Godfather

Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, played with Rowan on Canada’s under-19 team in the 1990s. Now they work together — Nash is the general manager of the Canadian men’s national team, and Rowan is the assistant general manager.

The Phoenix Suns legend bought his godson his first bedroom set, according to Ozarks Sports Zone.

“He’s the best player ever out of [Canada],” Rowan told Ozarks Sports Zone of Nash. “Him taking that position [as the GM of the Canadian team] on while he was still playing shows not only how important his country is to him and who he is as a human being but also how important playing for your country is.

“For the athletes who have gone through that and put the jersey on and stood in front of that flag, to represent your country, what a calling. And it’s a powerful experience that’s really hard to describe. But athletes who have gone through it know it. I think that’s one of the things that compelled Steve to get back and get our country moving towards our goals.”

Rowan Used to Take R.J. to New York City to Hone His Game

Both of R.J.’s parents have family in New York City, where they attended college. The father used trips to the Big Apple as opportunities to develop his son’s game.

“We’d go to see family and take him out to the blacktop. I went to school in New York so I’d just travel to Harlem and Coney Island. I had an understanding of what that was and how important it was for him,” Rowan told Slam. “The city game isn’t a lot of jump shots — it’s a lot of going to the rim, figuring out how to get to the rim. No one calls foul. All the trash talk, the chatter. Can you play while someone is talking to you? Don’t look over to the side. Daddy can’t help you. So we’d take him there in the summer and it was great for his development in terms of toughness. He learned the European way, and then he played in Brooklyn.”