When Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett last were teammates, it was on the 2018-19 Duke team that many observers expected would contend for coach Mike Krzyzewski’s sixth national championship.
After all, that team also had Zion Williamson (and Tre Jones), making for three of the eventual Top 10 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
But in part due to a missed foul shot by Barrett down the stretch, the Blue Devils were upset by Michigan State in the Elite Eight in Washington, D.C. An ACC team went went on to win the NCAA championship, but it was Virginia, not Duke.
Now Reddish and Barrett will be reunited on the Knicks after the Atlanta Hawks traded Reddish, Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick (via Brooklyn) to the Knicks for Kevin Knox and a protected 2022 first-round pick (via Charlotte), per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Seth Berger, who coached the 6-foot-8 Reddish at the Westtown (PA) School, believes Reddish will help the Knicks. He’s averaging 11.8 points while shooting 40 percent and 38 percent from deep.
“It’s a great opportunity for Cam,” Berger said. “He is a great piece to any NBA franchise and the bigger a role he plays, the better that team will be.”
Steve Tulleners, who assisted Berger at Westtown, spoke with Reddish Thursday morning and likes that he’s going to play for coach Tom Thibodeau.
“A good friend of mine (Kyle Korver) recently said on J.J. Redick’s podcast that his years in Chicago under Thibs were the most transformative and important of his career,” he said. “I can see the same opportunity for Cam and couldn’t be more excited for him.”
Meantime, legendary Montverde (FL) Academy coach Kevin Boyle, who has coached seven top-3 NBA picks since 2011 including No. 1s Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and Cade Cunningham, believes Reddish will help Barrett and vice versa.
“I feel R.J. is ready to challenge next year for an All-Star spot,” he said. “Having a great shooter like Cam will only make it harder to help if R.J. attacks the basket.:
Barrett has scored 63 points in his last two games, including a 32-point/7-rebound/2-assist night Wednesday in a win over Dallas.
Coach K said this week Barrett has made “steady growth” and should remain a Knick for his career.
“He’s really improved on his outside shooting and I do think that he’s improved on it because he’s in different places on the court, not just in the corner,” Coach K said. “He’s a basketball player, he’s not a shooter. He’s a scorer, a basketball player, he makes plays and a he’s a winner.”
The Knicks (21-21) are now at .500 for the first time since early December and are clearly looking to make a push towards the playoffs.
Before the Knicks drafted Barrett No. 3 in 2019, Reddish said he would be be a great get for whatever team landed him.
“He’ll bring aggression, competitiveness and leadership,” Reddish said. “He’s a great guy to be around. The teammates will love him, he’s just a great guy to be around.”
He added: “I mean, I think he’ll be fine [in New York]. Playing at Duke this year, he had a lot of attention on him so I think he’s ready for that.”
Now Reddish is ready for New York, too, and a reunion with his former Duke running buddy.
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