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Mississauga basketball star R.J. Barrett named USA Today’s player of the year

Duke Blue Devils' R.J. Barrett takes a free throw during exhibition basketball action against McGill Redmen in Laval, Que., Sunday, August 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes

DURHAM, N.C. – Canadian basketball star R.J. Barrett has been named the National Player of the Year by USA Today.

The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., leads the ACC in scoring with an average of 22.9 points a game, and helped the Duke Blue Devils to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

READ MORE: Canadian RJ Barrett has triple-double, No. 2 Duke beats NC State, 94-78

Barrett set both the Duke and ACC freshman scoring records with his 799 points. Against top 10-ranked teams this season, Barrett’s scoring average of 25.5 leads the NCAA.

Barrett is the only major conference player to score more than 13 points in every game this season. He’s also seventh in the conference in assists (4.12), 10th in rebounding (7.5), and 10th in field goal percentage (45.7).

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READ MORE: Toronto’s RJ Barrett’s 3s lead No. 2 Duke past No. 3 Virginia, 81-71

Barrett was also a USA Today all-American selection, adding to the all-American honours from USBWA and Sporting News. Barrett and teammate Zion Williamson are both finalists for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Award, the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year and the John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award.

The Blue Devils open March Madness on Friday in Columbia, S.C., against North Carolina Central or North Dakota State.

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