[4 AP / 4 Coaches] Duke (16-2, 4-0) vs. Florida State (12-6, 3-1)
Saturday, January 21, 2012 • 4:05 p.m. • ESPN
The Opening Tip
• Duke (16-2, 4-0 ACC) hosts Florida State (12-6, 3-1 ACC) on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m.
• Mike Patrick (play-by-play) and Len Elmore (analyst) will call the game for ESPN. The game is also on national radio with Marc Kestercher (play-by-play) and Will Perdue (analyst) calling the action for ESPN Radio.
• Duke is ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Florida State is unranked in both polls. The Blue Devils are 51-9 all-time when ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
• Duke is one of two teams (Baylor is the other) in the NCAA to rank in the top 5 of the RPI, Strength of Schedule, AP and Coaches Polls.
• The Blue Devils have won 45 consecutive home games, one shy of matching the school record.
• Duke has won 21 consecutive January home games dating back to the 2006-07 season.
Duke-Florida State Series
• Duke and Florida State have met 37 times heading into Saturday’s game with the first meeting between the two schools coming on Jan. 3, 1955.
• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 30-7, including a 17-1 mark at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Duke has won five consecutive games and 10 of the last 13 in the series.
• Mike Krzyzewski is 28-6 at Duke against the Seminoles, including a 15-1 mark at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Coach K missed both games against Florida State during the 1994-95 season.
• Duke has won 24 of the last 29 games in the series (dating back to Feb. 22, 1995).
• 11 of the last 16 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
• The Blue Devils have won 64 consecutive home games against unranked opponents, dating back to a 68-67 home loss to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
l Duke has won 64 consecutive home games against unranked opponents. The Blue Devils’ last loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium to an unranked opponent was to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
l The Blue Devils have won 45 consecutive games in Cameron Indoor Stadium with 38 of the victories coming by 10 or more points.
l Duke is 59-1 at home since the start of the 2008-09 season.
l Andre Dawkins is averaging 22.5 ppg. and shooting 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from three-point range over the last two games. Dawkins scored 18 straight points on six three-point field goals during the first half of Duke’s win over Wake Forest.
l Mason Plumlee ranks third in the ACC in rebounding at 9.4 rpg. He has led the Blue Devils in rebounding 13 times overall this season, including 12 of the last 15 games.
l Austin Rivers leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 14.2 points per game. He is the only freshman in the ACC averaging over 10.0 ppg. Rivers leads the Blue Devils with four 20-point games, including 20 points in Thursday’s win over Wake Forest.
l Andre Dawkins is averaging a team-high 15.3 points and 3.75 three-point field goals per game in ACC play. He is 15-of-32 (.469) from three-point range in the last four games.
l Duke is shooting 52.9 percent (270-of-510) from the field at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. Eight Blue Devils are shooting over 50.0 percent from the field at home, including a team-best 65.2 percent (43-of-66) from Mason Plumlee.
l The Blue Devils also have a +9.1 rebound margin in their nine home contests. The post trio of Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Miles Plumlee is averaging 23.6 rebounds per game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
l Duke ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring (80.9 ppg. – 10th), field goal percentage (.498 – t-10th) and three-point percentage (.407 -
Duke was in control of the basketball game against Wake Forest from the opening tip as they coasted to a 91-73 victory. Duke now sits alone atop the ACC at 4-0 but they will now prepare for a 3-1, hot Florida State team which invades Cameron in less than 48 hours.
The Andre Dawkins Show
The first half of the game belonged to Andre Dawkins who knocked down 21 points on 7 of 9 three pointers. Dawkins earned the praise of Krzyzewski in his post game speech which just concluded. Dawkins failed to score in the second half. Check out our interview with Andre per BDN Video. Dawkins knocked down five straight three point shots and Dawkins has now scored 20 plus points in two consecutive games and this was his 9th double figure scoring game for the season.
Ryan Kelly scored a double-double
Kelly went 8 of 11 from the field on his way to a team high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds. His consistent play was a huge factor for Duke as they maintained a working lead the entire game. Kelly has scored 20 points in two of his teams ACC wins and he scored in double figures for the 11th time this season.
Austin Rivers comes off the bench for the first time
Rivers started the game on the bench as Krzyzewski said he was checking new combinations, but maybe he should remain the sixth man if he puts up numbers like 20 points. Despite starting on the bench with 32 minutes of playing time, he basically still was a starter. His 3 of 4 from the three point stripe matched a career high. Austin has now scored in double figures 14 times this season and he leads the Blue Devils in scoring.
Just too much talent for Duke
The Blue Devils held Wake to zero three pointers in the first half and just 3 all game long. They also held the Wake bench scoreless at the half. Duke ended the game with a 43 to 8 points advantage, thanks to the aforementioned Kelly and Rivers. Duke held an 18-9 second chance point advantage as well and while they were outscored in the paint, that was due to their outside shots falling where they knocked down 11 three pointers. The Blue Devils also dished out 17 assists tonight.
This and that
Duke extended it’s ACC home court streak to 45 games and 64 straight against unranked teams. This was the first game since March of 2010 that Duke had three 20 point scorers in one game. Duke is 51-9 when ranked #4 in the country. Four Blue Devils scored in double figures for the 11th time this season.
Post game videos
Below are Austin Rivers, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly post game comments per BDN Video.
Stanley Johnson, a 6’6″ wing from Mater Dei, has experienced quite a bit in the past year. As a freshman, the Fullerton native helped the Monarchs of Mater Dei win their eighth state title, grabbing fifteen rebounds in the state title game against De La Salle. Johnson was named a MaxPreps Freshman All-American.
Last June, Stanley was expected to give a defensive presence to the USA U-16 team as they competed for the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship in Mexico. Although Johnson was the youngest member of the USA U-16 team, he wound up starting the first two games in Cancun, against Brazil and Argentina, respectively, before suffering a fracture-dislocation of his left index finger at 4:03 of the first quarter of the second game, which eliminated his ability to play for the remainder of the tournament. Despite the injury, the 2014 prospect enjoyed representing his country, his time with his eleven teammates, including roommate and friend Tyus Jones, and scored fourteen points in the opening game against Brazil.
The youngest of five, Johnson gets some of his pedigree and tutelage from his mother, Karen Taylor, who was able to play both forward positions at Jackson State and professionally in France. He wears the number 41 in honor of her, believing that four plus one means grace.
Last month, Stanley, a sophomore, was tasked by Mater Dei head coach Gary McKnight with guarding Duke 2012 recruit, Shabazz Muhammad, at the City of Palms in Ft. Myers, FL. Johnson held arguably the most explosive scorer in the 2012 class to two first-half points by forcing him to use his right hand. This Monday at the HoopHall Classic at Springfield College, he overcame a sub-par shooting night (3/10 FG) to contribute a team-high fifteen rebounds and nine points, while utilizing his athleticism and physical play to employ solid defense on Christ The King. The night before he won the 2012 Hoop Hall Slam Dunk Contest with an explosive dunk off of a pass out of the bleachers from his senior teammate Katin Reinhardt.
Stanley Johnson spoke afterwards with Blue Devil Nation about a variety of issues, including his experience with USA Basketball, his mother’s influence, Duke’s recent interest, defending Austin Rivers, and being labeled a team player.
Talk about the game today.
It was a really good win for the team. We had a lot of guys get into the game, which is always good. We played really hard and I think it was one of the best games we played this season… and it showed on the scoreboard. I think if we keep playing like we did today, we’ll be pretty good.
Well, you guys play a pretty competitive schedule.
Playing a competitive schedule makes you play harder because you have the ability to lose at any time. Our coach says that he’s going to schedule us in these competitive games because we play harder in these harder games and he wants to challenge us.
I guess the long-term benefits would be success in the state playoffs. That’s what you guys are going for.
Yeah, the long-term goals are the state playoffs and trying to win another state title, where we’ll hopefully be more used to the physical and tough competition than the opposition will be. That’s the game plan.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths are getting to the basket and just playing with physical play. I try to be a bit physical out there. My weaknesses are my jump-shot and my ball security. I’ve got to work on that a little bit more.
And do you work on that in the off-season?
I work on that all of the time. I do it through the season, all twelve months of the year. You always can get better and so I want to try to get better at everything.
In terms of emulating players, is there a guy you try to model your game after?
I like LeBron because he does a lot of everything. He scores, defends, rebounds, and can pass the ball well too. He gets a lot of triple-doubles.
How tall are you?
And you have a few more years of potential growth. Do you like his style?
Yeah, I like him because he puts up high numbers. I just like how he can do everything out there. I like that. I want to be an all-around player.
Which schools are after you right now?
The whole Pac-Twelve, Kentucky, Duke, Auburn, Texas, Kansas, Kansas State, all of the above. All of the schools I’m very interested in. There are so many schools, I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, but those are most of them.
How does it break down in terms of those with formal offers and those who have shown serious interest?
Well, I have a lot of offers on the table. I haven’t gotten a chance to go out to colleges and stuff because I’ve been busy with school. I haven’t gotten a chance to get out, but I’m going to try to get out soon, as soon as I can.
Are you planning on doing some visits in the off-season? Well, between the AAU season and the high school season..
I’ll be trying to visit a lot of colleges and stuff cause that’s when I’ll get a chance. I’ll have my really off period.
Are you a good student? Because you’re articulate, I didn’t know.
Yeah, I’ve got between a 3.3 and a 3.4. I try to do well in school, but, yeah, during the off season I’m going to try to visit schools.
In terms of a timeline, are you in a rush to decide?
Oh, no, I’m not rushing this at all. I feel like I just want to go through this once. I don’t want to rush this decision because I don’t think anything good comes from rushing a decision. I feel like my recruiting process is just getting started. I want to make sure that everything is even, make sure I really want that school. I don’t want to go through the process more than once.
What will you be looking for whenever you do decide?
Oh, well, I live in California, so I like that home feeling of California. My high school coach is awesome. I’d like to have that kind of feeling.
He’s built quite a powerhouse at Mater Dei.
Yeah, they accept me. They like the way I am. They’re cool with me.
They embrace you.
Yeah, they embrace me. So I want that, and I just want it to be good. A good offense and a good defense.
What style of play do you prefer? I really rarely get to see you during the high school season, but I’ve seen you at camps and in AAU basketball. Do you prefer an up-pace tempo or one that employs more half-court sets?
I like fast-paced, but I can play the half-court system. You know, as a team, we try to do both things and so I feel comfortable in either system.
You’re just trying to win the game, whatever it takes.
Yeah, whatever it takes to win the game.
Who’s the toughest player you’ve faced so far?
Oh, Austin Rivers.
Yeah, I had to guard him last year at the City of Palms. He was an absolute killer.
This gentleman that I respect was telling me that you did a tremendous job of guarding Shabazz Muhammad this year.
Oh, Shabazz. I guarded him pretty well. I think he only had like 16 on me for the whole game, but then I came out in the middle of the fourth quarter and he got some points at the end. But Shabazz, he’s really good. He’s strong left-handed and his right is alright, so my coaches were telling me to stay on his right. “Just stay on his right.” Make sure he goes right and then I just got the opportunity. I mean, he’s my size. He’s got my athletic ability, so I tried to make him go right every time. I tried to slow him down a little bit and then when I came out of the game, he got some more points.
Sort of on the same topic, but how would you assess your defense at this time in general?
I feel like I do a lot of agility drills and I feel like my feet are on point. I feel like, with my quickness, I can guard anyone from a one to a four. Fast or small, big or tall. (laughs)
And can you go back to that matchup with Austin one more time?
Austin could do everything, I mean, I couldn’t find a weakness with him. I played him left and he hit a floater off of me. I played him off and he hit a jumper over me. I played him tightly and he drove right by me. He hit the mid-range. He was doing everything.
He’s tough to defend.
Yeah, yeah, he’s good.
Speaking of Austin, what’s Duke’s interest level in you and what do you know about the program?
I know that the program is known for winning and that’s what I like to do so that right there is automatic interest. I heard Coach K is a really good coach. I see them on TV all of the time. I want to step into a good situation. I don’t want to step into some easy situation and I don’t think they’d expect it. I see them recruiting high level players all of the time. I don’t want to step into an easy situation, I want to step into a situation where I’m going to have to work. I don’t want to walk into a place where I automatically get a starting position, I want to have to work for it. I know Coach K will give me no slack. I know he won’t give me anything and I like that.
Some guys want guaranteed early playing time.
Yeah, some guys just want to step into an easy situation, but that’s not me. I want to work for it, I don’t need any guarantees.
And can you talk about the interest that they’ve shown in you so far?
Yeah, I mean, I’ve gotten letters from them.
From Coach Wojo?
Yeah, I’ve gotten letters from him and I’ve called them a couple of times. He’s always telling me, when you’re ready, I’m ready. So, I mean, that’s really it, really. That’s where we’re at.
What was your experience like trying out and ultimately winning a gold medal with USA Basketball?
USA was a different challenge because there were eleven other guys on the team that could do whatever. I mean, they’re the top eleven guys. It was great to play with guys like Jabari (Parker) and Tyus (Jones). So I had to come in the game and do other things like hustle things. But I ended up starting, that was fun. I got hurt the second game, so I didn’t get a chance to play in the championship game, but it was fun. But when I was playing, I really got along with the players.
Who did you get along with best on the team?
Probably Tyus… he was my roommate. Tyus and Kendrick (Nunn), they’re pretty funny guys.
In terms of position, I put down that you could either be a three or a two, depending on how you develop. What do you feel is your best position?
I like to think of myself as a three, but I can play the two.
Well, if you like LeBron, you gotta learn to play the three.
(laughs) Yeah, I like to play inside a lot, I like to play in the low-post, and I like to use my body for rebounds. I like to use my body against smaller defenders on the low-post. When I go against bigger defenders, I like to face-up and just shoot right over them. I like to be able to do both things and I try to work on both.
Your mother played at Jackson State. Can you talk about her influence on you with the game?
My mother, she really knows the game, so when I was growing up, I had a coach in my house so I didn’t really have to go far to ask for questions.
So that’s definitely an advantage that you had.
Yeah, definitely. She got me right from the beginning with a ball in my hand because she was a European player as well. It happened prior to the WNBA.
Yeah, because there was no WNBA at the time.
That’s impressive. Now, what position was she?
She was a three and a four. She was able to play inside and out.
So, she really does know where you should be.
(laughs) Yeah, she doesn’t let me get away with anything.
You can’t get by on her.
No, I can’t mess around. (laughs)
What would you like people to know about you away from the court?
I’m really goofy. If you ask any of my teammates, I’m always laughing. I’m always making jokes. There’s really no dull moment around me.
So, you like to keep people entertained?
(laughs) Yeah, yeah.
I heard you visited New York yesterday and I’m not sure if you visited the Hall of Fame, but if so, can you talk about those two experiences?
We actually went all around town. We went to St. John’s for a little bit. I saw the campus and I got to play a little bit on the courts there. That was really cool. That was fun, but we only got to spend one night there. It was quick.
I’m from NY so I was interested where you went. I’m sure Coach Lavin was happy to let you guys use their facilities. Someone was describing you as being a really good “team-player” because for certain teams, you bring defense, other teams you bring scoring, you really bring whatever is needed. Do you feel that’s a good description?
Tonight, unfortunately but obviously, nothing was falling for me. So, I just tried to do whatever I could.
Well, you were three for ten from the field tonight, but you had fifteen rebounds and played good defense.
I feel like could play with a lot of players because I feel like I can bring it, especially with the USA team I have a different role than I do with the Oakland Soldiers.
So, you’re very comfortable with different roles, wearing different hats?
I feel like I can rebound. I’ll grab the ball when the shot’s not falling. I can get steals. I feel like I can play with great players, not-so-great players, and just high school players.
I heard you picked 41 because you wanted to pick 5 for your mother but that number was taken this year and that you wanted to pick 5 because not only was it your mother’s number, but it also meant grace. Are you going to switch to that next year when it becomes available?
Yeah, my mom told me four plus one means grace. So, my Mom, well, she’s a minister. I’m a Christian and so I believe in God. I believe in all the things about Christianity..the number 5 and the number 7, things like that. It’s encouraging to think that I have grace.
I hadn’t heard that before. When I was trying to do research on you, it was unusual. Thank you very much.
As Signing Day 2012 approaches, the focus remains on rounding out this year’s recruiting class. However, the Blue Devil coaching staff has strengthened their roster with the transfer of a hard-hitting defender from The Ohio State University. Duke sources have confirmed to BDN that 6’2″ 190 pound safety Jeremy Cash has transferred to Duke and enrolled in classes for the spring 2012 semester.
Cash enrolled at Ohio State last January and played in five games as a true freshman and registered 3 tackles. A native of Plantation, Florida, Cash was rated a 4-star prospect by ESPN coming out of high school and held scholarship offers from Arizona State, Florida State, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford, Wake Forest, and Wisconsin. A 4.0-student, Cash will have three years of eligibility remaining in Durham. He will join a Duke secondary that will have to replace All-ACC safety Matt Daniels in 2012.
The Blue Devils will host their final official visits of the 2012 recruiting season this weekend and BDN will have all the coverage as Duke looks to finish out this year’s class strong.
[4 AP / 4 Coaches] Duke (15-2, 3-0) vs. Wake Forest (10-7, 1-2)
Thursday, January 19, 2012 • 7:02 p.m. • ESPN
The Opening Tip
• Duke (15-2, 3-0 ACC) hosts Wake Forest (10-7, 1-2 ACC) on Thursday, Jan. 19 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tipoff is set for 7:02 p.m.
• Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Len Elmore (analyst) and Jeannine Edwards (sideline) will call the game for ESPN.
• Duke is ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Wake Forest is unranked in both polls. The Blue Devils are 50-9 all-time when ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
• Each of Duke’s last four games have been decided by 10 points or less. The Blue Devils are 9-1 on the year in games decided by 10 points or less.
• Duke is one of two teams (Baylor is the other) in the NCAA to rank in the top 5 of the RPI, Strength of Schedule, AP and Coaches Polls.
• The Blue Devils have won 63 consecutive home games against unranked opponents.
Duke-Wake Forest Series
• Thursday’s game marks the 235th meeting between Duke and Wake Forest, tying it as the most-played series in the ACC.
• Duke and Wake Forest met for the first time on March 2, 1906.
• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 158-77, including a 55-16 mark at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Duke has won three straight in the series overall and 12 straight in the series at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• The Blue Devils’ last 13 wins in the series have been by 10 or more points.
• Mike Krzyzewski is 39-23 at Duke against the Demon Deacons. The Blue Devils are 20-8 under Coach K at home against Wake Forest.
• The Blue Devils have won 23 of the last 28 meetings between the two schools.
• Duke has a +18.0 scoring margin during its current three-game win streak over the Demon Deacons.
l Duke has won 63 consecutive home games against unranked opponents. The Blue Devils’ last loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium to an unranked opponent was to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
l The Blue Devils have won 44 consecutive games in Cameron Indoor Stadium with 37 of the victories coming by 10 or more points.
l Duke is 58-1 at home since the start of the 2008-09 season.
l Duke ranks in the top 15 nationally in scoring (80.3 ppg. – t-13th), field goal percentage (.496 – 12th) and three-point percentage (.402 – 12th)
l Mason Plumlee ranks second in the ACC in rebounding at 9.5 rpg. He has led the Blue Devils in rebounding 13 times overall this season, including 12 of the last 14 games.
l Austin Rivers leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 13.8 points per game. He is the only freshman in the ACC averaging over 10.0 ppg.
l Either Mason or Miles Plumlee has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 11 of Duke’s 17 games this season. Mason has reached double figures in rebounds eight times, while Miles has four double-digit rebounding efforts. One of the Plumlees has collected 12 or more rebounds in five of Duke’s last seven contests.
l Duke is shooting 52.8 percent (238-of-451) from the field at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. Six Blue Devils are shooting over 50.0 percent from the field at home, including a team-best 69.5 percent (41-of-59) from Mason Plumlee.
l The Blue Devils also have a +9.2 rebound margin in their eight home contests. The post trio of Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Miles Plumlee is averaging 23.8 rebounds per game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
l Duke has had a different leading scorer in each of the last four games. Six different players have led the team in scoring this season. Austin Rivers has led the team in scoring seven times.
Amile Jefferson is a versatile, cerebral Philadelphia forward with a decision that is day-to-day. That decision has been heightened by the fact that the current accelerated recruiting process leaves, as early as mid-January, a very limited number of high-caliber forwards currently available.
At 6’7″ and blessed with enough athleticism, skill, and quality grades that he can legitimately be recruited by any college in the nation, Jefferson has been on Duke’s radar for several years. Before his sophomore year at Friends’ Central, a Quaker school in Wynnewood, PA, Amile was one of two rising sophomores who attended Duke’s Elite Camp. In the autumn of his junior year, Amile watched Duke unveil its fourth National Championship banner at the Countdown to Craziness. Recently, Blue Devils Coaches Krzyzewski and Collins have heated up their recruiting level from a courtship to a passionate pursuit, flying up to watch him play in person this past week.
After a tough triple-overtime loss to the Westtown School, Amile tried to lead his undersized Friends’ Central team to a victory over Saint Mark’s, a Massachusetts boarding school featuring 7′ Kaleb Tarczewski, an Arizona commitment, and 6’5″ wing Nik Stauskas, a Michigan signee. The normally efficient Jefferson was effected by getting routinely double and triple-teamed as soon as he caught the ball, primarily by the help defense of Tarczewski. Amile finished 6 of 14 from the field for fourteen points, grabbed five defensive rebounds, and had two assists in the 67-57 defeat at the hands of St. Mark’s.
Following the game, amongst other things, Amile talked about how the team will look to rebound for its playoff run as he seeks his fourth consecutive state title, his imminent decision of college matriculation, the word “potential,” the Blue Devils’ pursuit, and the commonality between Friends and Duke University.
What are most schools recruiting you as? A pure four or one that can play both the four and the three?
I think most schools are recruiting me for my versatility of being able to play the three and the four. I don’t mind banging inside, but, at the same time, I feel like I have the skill set to be able to step out and either hit that mid-range jump shot or take a player off of the dribble.
How (in depth one on one interview with Amile ahead for members! Join BDN Premium today and be in the know.) [private] has your senior year gone overall so far?
My senior season has been pretty good. At this point, I don’t think we’re quite where we want to be, but…we’re 9 and 4 so far.
Well, you’ve played a competitive schedule.
We have played a tough schedule and we’ve lost our last three, which has really been tough on us. Guys, who have there since freshman year, aren’t used to it. We usually end the season 21-3 or 22-3 or something like that and, so, to drop three straight has been tough, but we’ve got to fight through this. This is what makes or brakes seasons. These next couple of games are going to be big.
What have you and your teammates gained out of playing in these showcase events like this and the City of Palms?
Oh, I think they’ve been great experiences. We’ve been able to measure ourselves against some of the best teams in the country and they’ve been learning experiences too. We’ve been able to face huge, powerhouse schools that..
You can use these experiences down the stretch in the playoffs.
Absolutely, you know we can translate that directly into our league and league play. When you come out of a game like this, you have to able to use it in a Friends League game, where it’ll definitely be easier.
We’ve touched on the timeline, but what are some of things that you are looking for or have been looking for in your recruiting process?
Just somewhere where I’m going to be comfortable on and off the court, where I can develop my skill set, and, you know, where I trust the coaches and the environment. Things like that.
Can you describe your game for those that haven’t seen you play or haven’t seen you play lately?
I’m real wiry right now. I can do a lot of things with the ball, but really whatever the team needs me to do. I can rebound, pass, you know, I just try to be an all-around basketball player.
What would you say is your greatest strength? Your versatility?
Definitely. I try to be multifaceted so that I can do different things at different times.
One of the words that I think is appropriate or fair to use to describe you is cerebral. What advantages are there in, for lack of a better phrase, being able to outthink your opponent?
Yeah, there are definitely advantages because it is definitely a mental game too. You know being able to know when to make reads or make cuts…to know if your guy wants to go left or right, and like you said before, you know the angles of the game. It’s important to know where to be or think about where is the shot going to come from off the rim. Things like that are definitely big parts of the game.
Those are definitely advantages for you. Another word often in articles used to describe you is “potential.” What do you feel they mean and what are your thoughts when you read that?
I definitely have a lot of things to work on and, I mean, I definitely have to get bigger and stronger. That’s what I’m really looking forward to when my body fills out. You know being able to get that muscle to be able to protect or be able to play at that high level for a longer period of time. You know also getting more explosive and things like that.
Speaking about your strength and conditioning, I’ve seen you play since you were a freshmen and you have gotten bigger, but can you talk about what you’ve done so far and what you hope to get out of having access to a full, college-level strength and conditioning program and facilities.
Absolutely, I mean I do pretty much no lifting right now and haven’t ever done much lifting. So, for me, to start lifting is going to be a big adjustment and I think a big step up in my game.
That’s where I think you’re going to take your game to the next level.
Yeah, I think the biggest aspect of me developing as a player is right after I get out of school in June me getting down, I mean, going to whatever school I go to and just putting two-a-days in and getting bigger and refining my body for whatever way it needs to be.
How about Muscle Milk or protein drinks? Do you take any of that stuff right now?
No, I do not now.
What are the most difficult guys for you to guard? Athletic? Strong? This guy was huge (7′ Kaleb Tarczewski).
Yeah, I guess bigger, stronger guys are definitely a tough guard just because my body isn’t really there yet, but seven footers are always going to be tough to guard.
And when he’s actually hitting his baby hook, you’re dead.
Yeah, that was just frustrating to try to defend. That’s a killer.
Do you work more on your low post moves or on your face-up game?
Right now, I’ve been working on my face-up game. I’m really trying to work on attacking the basket, working on shooting off of one dribble…then off of two dribbles…and just taking it to the cup.
That’s one area that you looked much more comfortable in. You look much more comfortable dribbling the ball in either the open court or the half-court.
It’s been tough, but I feel like I have to learn how to be more efficient with my dribbles and things like that with the ball.
Can you talk about Duke’s recent involvement and speaking with Coach K and Coach Collins?
Duke is definitely a great school and so I definitely have to take a close look at them. Coach K is a great guy and Coach Collins is a great guy. I’ve enjoyed talking with both of them and it’s just been great and I look forward to learning more about the school.
You had gone to the Countdown to Craziness last year and to their Elite Camp two years ago.
Yeah, absolutely, I went down there two years ago and I got to see the school pretty good. I’m real eager and excited to learn more about the program.
How does it compare to Friends Central? Is it similar in terms of academics, campus, etc.?
I guess you could see some similarities, you know. Both being schools that are academically challenging and athletically challenging. Really good in all walks of life.
I saw that the average SAT score for kids coming out of Friends is north of 1300 these days.
Yeah, we’re definitely a rough academic school, but it prepares you for college and so that’s important.
Absolutely, college might be even easier by comparison. Did you visit the Hall of Fame and, if so, what were your impressions?
We did and I had visited the Hall of Fame before..so this is actually my second time seeing it. It was good to see some of the additions and also things I missed before.
Who are some of your favorites, either in the past or currently playing?
I love Kobe Bryant and, so to see that new USA part was just great.
I haven’t had to chance to see it yet.
Oh, it’s just great. It’s very well done. I love to see all the old legends. You know they’ve got this great picture of Wilt Chamberlain when he was in Philadelphia.
That’s a classic picture. What about your goals, team-wise and individually, the rest of the way? Do you want to be a McDonald’s All-American? I assume win a state title.
I just want to concentrate on first winning our league and then states again. We’ve won states for the last three years. I mean it’s literally been every year that I’ve been in high school so we want to keep fighting to keep that streak alive.
Who was that massive guy that you had when you were younger, Dom Morris? Didn’t he wind up going to BU?
Yeah, he was massive, a really wide, big guy, and made my job a lot easier (laughs). He did wind up going to BU.
You were actually like the second or even third option on those earlier teams.
Yeah, I know. It was good, though, because now guys just frankly kind of key on me, but if we could win states this year that would be all I’d need. I just want to go out with a state title.
Thank you very much, Amile.
Oh, no problem.
Pool Questions (multiple media free for all):
What happened out there today?
It’s our third loss in a row. We’ve got to bounce back and just keep fighting. They’re a very good team. We tried to go small and outrun them, but it unfortunately didn’t work. All credit to them. You know, Kaleb is a big body and he’s tough to fight with. The kid number twenty-one was very good too. They played tremendously as a team and it’s a tough loss.
You’ve played against a lot of good big guys. How does Kaleb rank against those guys?
Oh, he ranks up there with all of them. Especially with me being a little bit undersized against him and, you know, playing centers, it’s tough to really fight with them. You know with Kaleb…he’s got great hands and he uses his body well to post deep and he’s just definitely a quality big guy.
Defensively, is he in Nerlens (Noel)’s league? Probably not, right?
Not, well, I mean they both played me similarly. They guarded one of our other players and then helped off a lot. They put a smaller player on me so that anytime I drove, they could help ball. So, it was tough to get past a small one and then deal with an athletic seven footer every time you try to put up a shot. We needed our guys to get shots and I think we did a good job out there, but they just beat us out there and their size was a real factor.
Talk to us about the recruiting process. How is that going for you?
It’s going good. It’s getting close. I’m still looking at Nova, Ohio State, NC State, Kentucky, and Duke. We’re going to see how that goes and how that turns out. I can tell you that I’m ready to get this over with.
Is it wearing on you?
Yeah, a little bit, definitely. You get pressure on you from fans and, you know, the time for being courted is really over now. You know everyone wants you to make a decision. There’s a lot of pressure, but you’ve gotta just keep getting better everyday and keep fighting.
How about Duke’s recruitment? It seems like they’re the new school in your recruitment. It seems like they kinda just jumped in.
No, well, actually Duke was always a school that I was looking at and had interest in, but they felt that they had some players at my position and, next year, they don’t have them. It’s been great talking to Coach K and, with a program like that, you always give them a good look and get a closer look. You need to take a very close look at a program like that because you know that they are going to be able to compete for national championships and you’ll be able to play alongside some of the top players.
Do you have a timeline for when you want to make a decision by?
I don’t, but I’m hoping that it’s soon. You know I think it’s day to-day. I’m waiting to have big talk with my father. You know I’ve been traveling a lot and he’s been working a lot. So, once we really sit down and give all of those coaches one last call, I think we’ll be able to come to some type of a decision.
Do you think that you’ll be taking any more visits?
I don’t think so.
How many of your officials did you take?
I took all five.
So, have you been down to Duke unofficially?
I’ve been down to Duke twice unofficially, but not my junior year. My last time I went down there was during my sophomore year.
So, like two years?
Yeah, I think so.
Does that hurt them at all?
No, I don’t think so. I’ve been down there twice. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been talking to Coach K and Coach Collins a lot so I’m not really worried. [/private]