Duke basketball standout ‘bothered’ and ‘motivated’ after criticism

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

A former Duke basketball standout is taking some recent criticism to heart ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Duke basketball players are no stranger to the spotlight, nor are they strangers to receiving criticism.

Getting drafting by the New York Knicks, RJ Barrett, a player who had been in the spotlight his entire career, was entering a new animal in the heart of New York City, with the hopes and dreams of a fanbase that is desperate for a winner on his shoulders.

Barrett was a star at Duke, but he received some scrutiny for his shot selection, specifically in the final game of his Blue Devil career against Michigan State.

However, with his days in Durham behind him, it didn’t help that he was selected behind Zion Williamson and Ja Morant in the 2019 NBA Draft, as both players became immediate impact players.

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Despite playing his best basketball of the season prior to the NBA’s shutdown, Barrett still did not see any recognition on the NBA All-Rookie Team, and he is using that as fuel and motivation for his second season as a professional.

“It bothered me a lot. Not going to lie. It bothered me a lot. I really don’t understand why I wasn’t on it. But it was motivation — motivation for next season. It was good to have an extra chip on my shoulder and just prove myself even more,” Barrett said during New York Knicks media day.

The former Duke basketball star has a serious case to make

RJ Barrett averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, which was fourth among rookies in scoring, sixth in rebounding, and seventh in assists.

The former All-American also shot 40.2 percent from the field, logging 30.4 minutes per game.

Morant, Williamson, Kendrick Nunn, Brandon Clarke, and Eric Paschall made the NBA All-Rookie First Team, while Tyler Herro, Terrance Davis, Coby White, PJ Washington, and Rui Hachimura made the Second Team.

ALSO READ: Duke loss to Michigan State being taken out of context

RJ Barrett received the 11th-most votes to be on the All-Rookie Teams, totaling 61 points, as Hachimura secured the last spot on the Second Team with 74 points.

Barrett, under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, will reportedly begin the 2020-21 season on the road against the Indiana Pacers on December 23.

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