RJ Barrett is smiling big at the idea of ​​representing Canada at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

“It’s going to be exciting,” said the 23-year-old Ontarian. I’m already ready. We have accomplished something special and we will try to continue on the same path. »

On September 10, in the World Cup bronze game, Barrett hit a three-pointer that gave Canada a 124-115 lead over the United States with 43.8 seconds left in overtime.

Canada reached the podium by winning 127-118.

The country collected its first medal at the World Cup, in addition to qualifying for the Paris Games.

A Mississauga native, Barrett had 23 points in the bronze-medal match. He says his time with the maple leaf made him a better player with the New York Knicks.

“It’s different,” he said. An NBA game is 48 minutes (not 40). Even if you have a slow start, it is possible to overcome it. But internationally, you have to be ready from the start. This mentality helps me in the NBA. »

The Americans counted on Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, teammates with the Knicks.

Barrett averaged 16.8 points, five rebounds and two assists in eight games during the tournament in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

This season with New York, he posted 19.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 17 games.

That includes 27 points at the expense of the Toronto Raptors in a 136-130 victory on Monday.

“Every summer, he developed his mental toughness and his confidence level,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. He played very well with Team Canada, and it helped him start the season well. He is much more consistent with his shots, and I know he works a lot on it. »