Spring 2021 Magazine

Duke freshmen RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish thank God as they declare for NBA Draft

Duke freshman Cam Reddish announced Thursday he was declaring for the upcoming NBA Draft โ€” the second player from the Blue Devils’ star-studded freshmen class to do so, joining RJ Barrett, who announced his intention Wednesday.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

As for the other freshmen, Zion Williamson, college basketball’s AP Player of the Year, hasn’t made a decision public, and Tre Jones announced he’ll be returning to Durham for his sophomore season.

Both Reddish and Barrett posted videos on their social media pages thanking coaches, fans and teammates for a successful season at Duke, which culminated in 32 wins, an ACC Tournament title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.

“First, I give honor to God,” Reddish said in his video. “I want to especially thank my family for encouraging me and keeping me grounded, no matter what.” He also included the hashtag #TGBTG, which stands for “To God Be The Glory.”

Barrett’s video caption read, “I want to thank God, my family, my coaches and everyone that has helped me reach this decision.” His Instagram profile also says, “God first.”

Barrett, a prolific scorer, tied Williamson for the team lead by averaging 22.6 points per game. He was second on the team in rebounds at 7.6 a game, and second in assists at 4.3. Reddish averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

Early in the season, Reddish struggled at times with the transition from high school to college basketball in the ACC. Yet Reddish told SLAM that those struggles only led to a deepening of his faith, as he prayed more and made sure he listened to sermons before games.

Reddish broke out of his slump in a big way against Florida State on Jan. 12, when Williamson was sidelined for the second half. Reddish poured in 23 points and hit five 3-pointers, including one with 0.8 seconds left to give Duke the 80-78 victory.

“I knew it was coming,” Reddish told the Raleigh News & Observer after the game. “I wasn’t sure when. But I had to trust God and continue to work hard.”

After an unforgettable year with the Blue Devils, Reddish and Barrett now turn their attention to preparing for the NBA. The freshmen phenoms are both expected to be top-10 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, to be held June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

RELATED STORIES:
Virginia’s Tony Bennett thanks the ‘Lord and my Savior’ after winning school’s 1st national title
Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams led heartfelt locker room prayer over seniors after final game
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says ‘God’s blessed us all year long’ after heartbreaking Final Four loss