Q & A with star 2013 prospect Rodney Purvis

One of the kids who is already considered a star from the class of 2013 is Rodney Purvis [6-2,170 PG] who plays his high school ball for Upper Room in Raleigh, North Carolina.

How would you describe your game in your own words?

I’m real unselfish and like to get to the basket and dish out to my teammates.

Now, you’re close to the youngest guy here. 

Yes sir, 2013.  I just turned 16. [private]

What are you like off the court?

Outgoing, like to have fun, hang out with friends, all the right things.

Where did you learn your basketball skills?

They just came along.  I was growing up and playing in my grandma’s backyard and somebody said, hey this kid can play and people started working with me.

And what do you think of the camp to date?

I’m honored to be here, first and foremost.  I’m kind of used to it now, playing with older players, so it aint nothing …

And where do you play in high school?

Upper Room in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Did have a dream school growing up?

Carolina because they were always the best school and I’m a big Vince Carter fan.

What schools have shown interest to date?

Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest offered me, VCU, Xavier and Baylor have offered me …

A lot of people coming at you early …

Yeah

You mentioned Carolina as a dream school, does that leave Duke out?

Naw, I’m open to both of them.

What do you like about UNC?

The tradition.  The winning tradition they have and their history.  Coach Roy, he’s a great coach.

And what about Duke?

Same thing.  There’s nothing you can dislike about them.

Have you ever been to games or visited either school?

Yes, I went to Carolina when they played Miami and I went to the Duke Elite Camp.

How are your grades these days?

I’m always on A-B honor roll, but I’m trying to get principles list.

Good job!  There have been a lot of really good players  come out of the triangle of late.  Do you want to follow in the footsteps of say a John Wall or …

Yes, yes.

What are your goals in life?

I’d like to play in the NBA.  Most people just want to be in the NBA but I actually want to be good in the NBA – a great player.

What are the strengths of your game?

Getting to the basket and being able to dish to my teammates.

And what do you need to work on?

My pull up or mid range jump shot.

What position will you play for your high school team this season?

Uhm, everywhere.  It helps me because I’m forced to do some things.  With my high School team I’m the leader, but when playing in AAU for CP3, I’m playing with older guys, so I take a backseat, but I’m prepared to take a leadership role.

I know it’s a long ways to go at your age, but any idea when you would like to make a college choice?

It’ll be a last minute thing.  I’ll take all five official visits but will likely decide late.

Who will be involved with that choice?

My mom, coaches, family and whatever God has planned for me is what I’ll go with.

So if your dream school UNC offered would you jump?

No.  I’ll wait it out.

A lot of kids end up at schools they rooted against.  What if you were to sign with Duke?

[laughs] I’d be hated in North Carolina.

What did you take away from the camp?

I just got better in every area mentally and on the court.

Thanks for your time. [/private]

Checking in with prospect Norman Powell

We continue our coverage from this past weekends NBAPA Top 100 Camp by getting to know west coast prospect Norman Powell.

Norman, you’re one of the top prospects in the country here at the NBAPA Camp.  Can you talk about the experience thus far?

The experience here so far?  I really like it, you learn the little stuff which helps you get to the next level because the competition is as good as you are.  So you try and learn the little things which make you better.  I’m getting a lot out of the skills development.  Every time there is a chance I can get in the gym, I’m in there.  Working with a coach or trainer or whoever, I am in the gym two or three times a day.

Suppose somebody had never seen you play.  How would you describe your game in your own words?

I’m a fast break guy, athletic, contribute, create, score, drive and kick, aggressive, loves to go to the basket.

Let’s talk about the recruiting process for a moment.  What schools are seeking your services at this time?

Right now?  Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA, USC, UTEP, Washington State, Kansas and Oregon.

That’s a lot of west coast schools.  Would you ever consider going east?

Yes, yeah.

Are you interested in any ACC schools?

I’m actually interested to see if Duke is interested in me.  I’m trying to work very hard and get them interested.  So maybe they would offer me sometime soon.

Have you talked to anyone from Duke?

Not yet.  The communication goes through my AAU and high school coach.

When will you get serious about your collegiate decision?

After July.  I don’t plan to make a decision until after my senior season.  I’ll wait and see what develops.

Do you watch or pattern your game after and players be it NBA or college?

Kobe, LeBron, Jennings, Wall, the main players.  I just want to develop my skills.

Growing up it was USC. My uncle is a big USC fan as is my family.

Really my uncle got me in the gym working out.  I wasn’t that good growing up but I kept working and have a feel for the game.  He worked on getting me trainers and getting me into AAU.   That’s what I consider my love for the game.

Do you have what you consider to be a go-to move?

Tim Hardaway step back, three in the face.

Five seconds left in the game, your team down two, the ball in your hands.  What are you going to do?

Top of the key.  It goes in no matter what, I practice and hit that shot all the time.

A little background …

I grew up in San Diego, Cali.  I love competition going at people.  I don’t ever back down, bigger, smaller, bring it, caring, open to learn.  It’s school first and basketball second.  I am in a study group and my mom works wi.h me.

Thanks for your time and good luck.

Thanks

Coming – Marcus Paige, Perry Ellis, Rodney Purvis [/private]

One on one with prospect Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis - BDN Photo

Anthony Davis is a Chicago native whose uncle taught him the game of basketball in grammar school.  The budding prospect has been getting better ever since.  Davis is coveted for his versatility and some of the nation’s top schools are after him.  In an one on one interview during the NBAPA Top 100 Camp, Davis sat down to chat with BDN.

You have two games under your belt and have been participating in drills.  What have you learned thus far in the camp?

It’s been a great experience so far with some of the players past and present and they’re teaching me a lot of things post wise and shooting wise.  Since I was a guard last year being 6-2 or 6-3.  I always had my guard skills where I can dribble and shoot.  So they’re trying to teach me more ball handling as a big because if you’re a big that can shoot and dribble, you can score.  A lot of bigs here don’t have that same skill set..

Describe your game for those who have not seen you play in your own words?

Tayshaun Prince.  A lot of people compare me to Kevin Durant because I’m a big guy long and lanky who can really shoot the ball and get up and down the floor.  The person I work out with, we do a lot of Kevin Durrant skills work, like stepping through the man on the post to create space to where your shots are not contested.

Are you [private] still growing?  You had quite the growth spurt this past year.

A lot of people say I may end up 7-0, but I don’t know if that’ll be the case.

And your list of schools are?

Kentucky, Ohio State, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Kansas State.  All have offered except Duke and North Carolina, they want to see me in July at the Peach Jam and that’s when they’ll offer.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

No, not really.  I watched the Big Ten and Big East growing up and I followed Illinois while growing up.  I know a couple of the guys who went there and me and my cousins pulled for them back in the day, but now I watch a lot of schools play to see how they play and how they might use me.

Will distance play a role in your decision?

Actually it would.  I don’t want to be more than 6 or 7 hours from home.

So that might eliminate schools like Duke or North Carolina?

Not really.  When I take a visit down there if I really like it and could see myself being there it wouldn’t effect my decision at all.  There are some schools, you know, that I’m wishy-washy about, but not so much them.

What are you looking for in a school?

First they need to have my major, sports management because you have to have something to fall back on because basketball doesn’t last forever.  Also, the population, I want to go to a big school.

What about a coach?  What are you looking for from him?

Good background for building a squad to be a national championship caliber team.

Obviously you have your eyes on the next level of college hoops and then the NBA.  What position do you feel you might play?

I would say a three or four, maybe a three.   It doesn’t matter really, I’ll just be happy to be there for the opportunity.

What is Anthony Davis like off the hardwood?

I’m a fun guy to be around, way cool and all and most people think I’m fun to be around but I really just play a lot of basketball with other players.

Do you consider yourself a hard worker?

Yes, I work on my game almost everyday.  One day I go into the weight room and the next day put up some shots.  I’ll try and hit the weight room a lot this summer.

I’m from ACC country.  You list Duke and UNC.  Your thoughts on the two schools?

North Carolina has a great program.  They produce a lot of NBA players and Duke, they do the same thing.  They both like to get up and down and they both fit the way I play.  They like to go inside out and Duke allows freedom and they do too.  They’re both really good.

Do you look at or are you concerned with other players your list of schools are recruiting?

Not really.  I just want to see whats best for me.  They’re not recruiting just me but other people to build a championship caliber team.  I want to win a championship before I leave college.

College or Pro basketball.  Which do you watch most?

Pro, I like the NBA.  I was pulling for the Celtics because I don’t pull for Kobe Brynat, but it’s good he got another championship, so …  they had a lot of character coming back and Kobe resalized he needed his team to win, he couldn’t do it on his own and he made adjustments.

Five second left down by one.  Are you the kind of player that wants the ball in his hands?

I am, but if I’m going to the hoop with two seconds left and I see an open man with a higher percentage shot I’m going to get it to him.  It’s all about trust.

When will you get serious about deciding where you will play your college ball?

At the end of July toward the end of Peach Jam.  I expect to make a decision shortly after that before my high school season.

Where does Anthony Davis go from here?

I go to the Kevin Durrant Camp and the LeBron camp, a Nike Camp and then the Peach Jam.

Thanks for your time and good luck with the recruiting process.

Ahem, thank you. [/private]

Q & A with fomer Duke star Chris Duhon

Chris Duhon barking orders while coaching at this past weekeneds NBAPA Top 100 Camp - Photo Rick Crank/Blue Devil Nation

While covering this past weekends NBAPA Top 100 Camp I had an opportunity to catch up to Slidell, Louisiana native and former Duke star Chris Duhon.  I’ve been into recruiting for over a decade now and  was all over Duke’s recruitment of Chris Duhon back in the day. 

To this day, no recruit has been shown the love Chris got as he entered Cameron Indoor Stadium where about 1600 fans cheered his every move during his official visit.  It was a bizarre scene and while a bit odd, it was quite effective in that Chris and his Mom were thrilled so many came out to see them.  As it turned out, the powers that be, felt it was too much of a circus like atmosphere and there has been nothing like it since.

I covered Chris during the Glaxo tournament as well where he won the MVP.  Since that time, recruiting has evolved to where fans hang on every word and bounce of the ball but as the years roll by the only real change are the names of the players for the events remain the same. 

I was working with Duke Basketball Report during Duhon-mania and to this day you can probably search the archives and find the articles.  Little did I know that a post on the DBR message board would have created such a stir and send fans in droves.    Talk about a testament as to the power of the internet and Duke fans wanting to support their team, right? 

Duhon was a member of the 2001 National Championship team while at Duke and a part of the fabulous comeback win at Maryland that has now become an Instant Classic on ESPN.  Duhon for his career ranks 38th on the all time scoring list, 10th in all time three point buckets and 3rd in assists.  But it is Duhons defense that will be remembered where he is the all time steals leader at Duke.

His team made the championship game at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp where we saw each other for the first time since the K Academy about four years ago.  Duhon, of course, is a free agent and it goes without saying that the Blue Devil Nation wishes him the best with concerns to his future.  I hope you enjoy the Q & A with Chris as much as I did.

You’re one of the counselors and or mentors here at the NBAPA Camp, can you speak about that?

Yeah, the NBA Players Association has opportunities for current and retired players and we have the opportunity to come here and we have class sessions on how to coach and what it is like to coach and then we can get to work with some of the top players in the country.

Let me take you back in time for a moment.  It was a Saturday on a warm summer day and you payed a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium.  There, you were greeted by a bevy of fans that came out to see you work out and play with the team on that visit.  It was quite the love fest and nothing like that has happened since in that some considered it to be a circus like atmosphere.  That was in the days when the internet was fast becoming a tool of communication for fand.  I never thought there would be that kind of turnout and it was a testament to how badly Duke fans wanted you in Durham.

Yes, it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.  I really didn’t think people followed high school basketball and recruiting like that, but they knew who I was, where I was from and they just embraced me from the beginning and that’s something I’ll never forget.  There was a lot of love in there that day and it played a role in my ultimate decision to attend Duke.

Jason Williams was at Duke at the time and I understand he played a role in recruiting you as well despite the fact that both of you were considered to be point guards.

Well, the thing with Jason is that we both didn’t really going on in that we both played the same positions.  He ws thinking he’s coming here to replace me and I was thinking do I have to play behind this guy for three years.  But Coach [Krzyzewski] made it clear that he expected both of us to be on the court at the same time and we played a pick up game together and remember that our chemistry started off right away and I knew this [Duke} was the place I was going to go.

I understand that you run your own camp in Durham, is that correct?

I do.  It's the last week of July and it's my way of giving back to the Durham community because they treated me so well for four amazing years.  If you are interested go to Chris21.com and all the information is there.  It's a good camp and one that I plan on continuing in the foreseeable future.

Talk about your days in the NBA and what you expect with concerns to your career future.

This is my second year in New York and this is my sixth year so I'm getting old.

Old?  By NBA standards?

[laughs] Yes, old by NBA standards.  But I’m a free agent this year and I want to explore my options and go to a place that fits me and where I have the opportunity to win so I can feel like the Lakers did this year.

Speaking of opportunities, have you talked to any teams?

You’re not allowed to talk to teams until July 1st.  I’ll have a better feel after that.

Do you have any team you might kike to play for?

Not really.  I just want a fast up tempo pace and I have always been a defensive guy and I want to play where my defense can help the team win.  Sometimes things aren’t in your hands in the league, so we’ll just have to see what happens. 

What do you tell the kids here about making a decision where they’ll play college basketball?

I just tell them to be patient and take their time.  Don’t rush into anything and listen to their families and mentors and make sure the school is the best place for you because you’re going to be their four years, well, most of them. [smiles]

And your best memories of Duke would be?

Aw man, there are so many.  Obviously winning the national championship in 2001 and coming back to beat Maryland up there when everyone thought we were down and out.  Being in the Final Four again with those guys, the countless battles with Maryland and Carolina.  My whole experience was great.  All of the practices and Coaches motivational speeches, team meals, I could go on forever, you might not have enough tape for me.

Speaking of Krzyzewski do you still stay in touch with him?

Oh yeah, all the time.  He and I have built a great relationship and I call in to check on him from time to time.  I know he’s a busy guy so you can’t blow his phone up all the time.  We always check in and I make it a point when in Durham to go over to the office because the program has done so much for me.

What did you think of their ride to the national championship this past season?

Man, I thought it was amazing.  I really wanted to get there but we were in L.A. at the time and the only flight that would get me there in time got cancelled, but I followed them in the tournament and it was great to see Coach and his team maximize their potential as they played their hearts out to win.

Last question.  You used to sleep with a basketball when you were at Duke.  Do you still do that? [jesting]

[Laughs and stays smiling]  The basketball has been gone.  That’s something JWill started and I did it one time because we were playing around [explaining while smiling] and he had to make it a bigger story than it really was.

Chris, it’s always a pleasure.

It’s great to see you again and thank you.

One on One with 2012 Duke prospect Kaleb Tarczewski

Kaleb Tarczewski throws down a dunk at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp. Become a trial member and read this in depth interview with a rising prospect. Photo property of Rick Crank and Blue Devil Nation

CHARLOTTESVILLE – One of the big men garnering attention in the class of 2012 is St. Marks Kaleb Tarczewski who is looking like a true post player.  By that, I mean he is penciled in by most as a center.  Tarczewski first caught my eye in Orlando during last season AAU Nationals where he scored 28 point in a game where my intent was to watch Alex Murphy for the first time.  Since that time, it was clear to me that he had a great deal of potential and one thing for certain is that you cannot teach height.  I saw Tarczewski again during the Tournament of Champions and it was clear that he has a lot of potential if he continues to work hard.  Coming from a solid AAU program and having good high school coaching will certainly aid the process and it’s no longer a secret that he is being sought after by the likes of Kansas and Duke.  Having talked with Tarczewski a couple of times prior to this past weekend, he is comfortable with me which is evident in the following in depth interview.

Kaleb, you’re of course in the class of 2012 and play with another Duke prospect in Alex Murphy in AAU ball and at St. Marks as well.  We’re here at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp and I’d like to know what it’s like to play in a structured camp like this?

I was kind of nervous on the plane ride down here and this is one of the biggest events I’ve been to and it obviously has some of the best player in the country.  Being younger than everyone is kind of nerve racking but I’ve calmed down a little bit and just want to play some good basketball.

You just had a pretty good game and went up against Isaiah Austin and Tyler Adams.  What was it like playing against them?

I’ve played against Austin before in an AAU game so I knew how he would play.  You’ve just got to go out there and work harder than your opponent and you’ll be fine.

Each time I’ve seen you progress is evident and I like that you don’t back down inside.  Is that just inherit to you or your nature so to speak?

Yeah, I mean I love fighting on the block and that’s what I do and I know that’s what I need to do to be successful and I’m willing to do that.

The last time I saw you was at the Tournament of Champions Event.  What have you been doing since that time?

I went to the [private] Kansas Elite Camp and I got to work with Danny Manning and that was really,  really good.  We went over work angles and working the post and that was a great experience and I’ve been working a lot at home with Coach Carrol as well.

Kansas is high on your list, right?

Yeah.

And they’ve been recruiting you the longest?

They kind of started this spring, so it hasn’t been too long.

Are any other schools coming in?

Yeah, tons of schools.  I’ve gotten so many calls the past few days so it’s really opening up.  I don’t really have a list yet.  It’s very early in the process.

When you do make a decision who will play a role in that?

I kind of have a lot of people.  My basketball family has gotten pretty big.  Alex’s Dad, Mr. Murphy, he’s really gotten into this so he’s going to really be effecting my decision.  Mitchell Lubick, my high school coach at St. Mark’s and my sponsor T.J. and my family too.

And you’re really tight with Alex as well, right?

Yeah.  Me and Alex have become pretty good friends,  We’ve been playing AAU ball together for two and a half years now.  Right when I started out playing, he was always there and of course, we go to school together.

Have you been hearing from any ACC schools of late?

Yeah, Duke and Virginia.  I talked to Coach K and talked to Virginia.  I will be going to Boston College’s Elite Camp.  When we were in Atlanta, Georgia Tech showed interest and I got to meet their coaches.

Do you think you’ll take all five official visits?

Yeah, most likely.  I want to see as many schools as I can and traveling with AAU helps me do that.

Now, you told me last time you’ve only been watching college basketball for one year, is that right?

Yeah, just this past year.  It’s kind of new to me so it’s hard to make a decision until I become more familiar.

So, you’ll take your time in the process?

Yeah.

Do you look at schools and how they develop kids for say they next level?

Yeah.  There are so many factors going into a decision.  One of the main factors that’s important to me … I’ll go anywhere that I can get better and puts me in the best spot.  I mean, I really don’t want to go too far from home but if I have to I will.  So, I’m looking for a place that makes me feel at home.

Is there an early leader?

No, not really.  Obviously, I go to huge school like Kansas and I’m blown away by it and obviously going to a Duke or North Carolina, it’s like wow, it would be cool if I went there but you have to still just take a step back and see.

What do you do with your down time away from AAU ball?

[laughs]  I don’t really have that much time, especially in the summer.  When I go home, I usually like to go to the beach or hang out with my girlfriend, mow the lawn. [smiling]

Yeah, it must be nice to go to the beach.  I’m out there about as much as you guys are and it’s been hard to find time for one of my favorite places.

We’re like the west part of New Hampshire, but we have a lake beside us and it’s nice, so …

Tell me something about you that nobody else knows?

Uh, I don’t really know …

Have you played sports other than basketball?

Well, I didn’t start playing basketball until the sixth grade, but I didn’t play in the seventh and my freshman year in high school, so I haven’t really experienced basketball and in New Hampshire it’s hard.  Every since I started play basketball I loved it and I stated out playing football with my stepbrother.  When I got taller, I knew basketball was something I could be good at and I really love the game.

You mentioned that you talked with Duke’s Coach K earlier.  What did have to say?

It might have been the first day phones opened up [contact period] and he said we really like you and want to get you down here for a visit.

Did that sound good to you?

Oh yeah.  Plus they’ve got the Polish Coach, so .. [smiling]

Alex is taking a good long Duke as well.  He seems to be pretty high on them, is that what you see as well?

Yeah, Alex is really high on them. They’re obviously not only a good basketball school but they are an good academic school as well.

You go to St, Mark’s which prepared you well for college.  Is education important to you as well?

Very important.  I have a 4.0 [said with pride], so it’s really important to me.  They can’t take away your brain if you get injured or hurt, so you always have your brain to fall back on.

That’s good thinking on your part.  Have you thought about what you might like to take in college?

Well, I have thought about engineering, but it’s what ever the best fit for me is.

Now, Murphy’s Dad played in the NBA.  Does he ever give you pointers and talk of what to expect?

Well, he gives me more like skills workouts and stuff like that and we try not to look too far into the future and stuff like that.  I’d never say I was going to for sure be in the NBA, so why bother with this or that.  To be honest, I have so much work to do before I get to that level I try not to think of it.

Well, you’re doing a great job.

Thank you very much. [/private]

Prospect Chris Tavarez looking for a home away from home

Duke prospect Chris Tavarez

Chris Tavarez is a 5’11” 193 pound strong safety prospect from Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia. Chris played outside linebacker as a junior, and is being recruited by several schools to play safety. His strengths on the field are his aggressiveness, hits, and instincts. Heading into his senior year, Chris is working to improve his speed, hoping to clock a 4.3 second 40 yard time (down from about 4.5), and is always working on his fluidity and fundamentals.

 

Chris missed most of the spring evaluation period while he was in New Zealand, filming a new Disney movie, and thus, his recruitment is a little behind schedule. He’s looking for a school with “academics first, with coaches who understand the student-athlete concept.” Since his return, Chris has been getting a lot of attention from big-name academic and football programs, including Duke, Maryland, Kentucky, Harvard, Tulane, Princeton, Connecticut, Oklahoma State, Stanford, and Oregon. He plans on making several visits over the next few weeks to find a place where he’ll feel “still at home” when not on the football field. Academically, Chris has an interest in sports journalism, but is still pretty much undecided on a collegiate major. He’s looking for a football program that will take him “to the next level in football.” 

Though Chris has received lots of interest from schools over the past few months, “Duke was the first to offer and I’m a loyal person,” he said, “I went up there for junior day and they showed me so much love. All the coaches on the staff knew me. They sent me a huge envelope with a letter written by every coach on why they liked me.” During his visit, he was also able to sit down and talk to Coach Cutcliffe. Growing up in Atlanta, Chris has a lot of respect for the ACC, noting that they “play differently than the SEC” and praising the conference for promoting the student-athlete. 

Chris hopes to make his decision sometime during the fall, but admits that he has “lots of places to visit and a lot of homework to do” before making a final decision. 

For Chris’ highlight video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X77y-RXl6I.