RJ Barrett plans to play for Team Canada this summer, he told reporters on Wednesday.
"One-hundred percent. I definitely plan on playing for my country this summer. I'm very proud to say that," the shooting guard said at the Knicks' shootaround at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto ahead of the rookie's first game at home in Canada.
Barrett didn't play for Team Canada last summer ahead of the FIBA World Cup due to injury.
He has played for the men's national team in the past and played with the program regularly as a younger player.
Barrett's father, Rowan Barrett Sr., was a captain for Team Canada in the 2000 Olympics and is the national team general manager.
Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray has also committed to Team Canada, which didn't have much of its NBA talent last summer and finished just 2-3 in the FIBA World Cup.
Canada will compete in a six-country qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 23-28. Canada must win the tournament to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
"It's great to see everyone buying in, trying to do something great for our country, trying to get to Tokyo," Barrett said, per video from TSN. ". I feel like it's a way you can serve and give back to your country. So many people, especially being a basketball player, an NBA player, so many people give to me and give to us every day so for us to give back and try to make our country proud, this is one of the many ways that we can do that."
Big crowd for Barrett
Barrett, the Knicks' No. 3 overall pick in June's 20219 NBA draft, said he has roughly 300 people coming to the game in Toronto, his home city.
Barrett, who attended Raptors games with his father Rowan as a kid, said his focus on the court will be getting the struggling Knicks (4-13) a win.
"It feels great, so many emotions. But I can't let my emotions get in the way of what needs to be done," he said. "So as excited as I am, we've still got a game to play. We've still got a task to take care of."
Barrett missed Sunday's 103-101 loss to Brooklyn with an illness. He said it was the first game he'd missed in some time.
The Knicks missed Barrett against Brooklyn. He has been one of their most reliable players this season. He enters play Wednesday averaging 15.1 points and 3.6 assists per game to go along with 5.6 rebounds.
Frank Ntilikina (groin, quad) and Kevin Knox II (quad) are probable for the game against the Raptors (12-4).
The Toronto game is the start of a tough five-game stretch for New York. The Knicks next five opponents (TOR, PHI, BOS, MIL, IND) are all at least four games over .500.