During Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s press conference today, it was announced that Andre Dawkins would redshirt this coming season. According to those close to the situation he needs time away, so of course he will get it. Dawkins would have been a rising senior this year. The 6’4″ guard from Chesapeake, Virginia remains on target to receive his Duke degree.
The 2013 offensive line class received another big boost on Monday afternoon, as Gabe Brandner added his pledge to join Austin Davis and Sterling Korona in Durham. At 6’6″ and 250 pounds out of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, SC, Brandner brings great size and athleticism to the Duke o-line of the future. He chose the Blue Devils over offers from Appalachian State, Air Force, and Clemson. BDN caught up with the new Blue Devil commit shortly after his decision.
BDN: What led to your decision to commit to Duke?
It’s just been, coming from Heathwood, not many people get the opportunity to play college football and it was just unbelievable to have an offer from a university like Duke. That definitely played into it. Coach Cut is just an unbelievable man. I know that he will teach me a lot about character. Coach Jones and Coach Latina, just being around those guys, I know I’ll be in really good hands up at Duke. I want to go and win games. I feel I can do that at Duke, play competitive football and get a great education, so it’s really the complete package that Duke sold me on.
BDN: How did you inform the coaches and what was their reaction?
I first called Coach Latina, and he told me that’s great news Gabe, we’re excited to have you up, but you have to call Coach Cutcliffe. So I let Coach Cutcliffe know. He was on his way to a funeral, actually – his aunt died – but he was just really excited to hear that I had chosen Duke. It was an exciting time for both my family and me, and they seemed sincerely excited also, so it’s just a great fit.
BDN: What kind of player do you hope to be for the Duke program?
I want to be an All-ACC offensive tackle or maybe tight end for them. That all depends on how much weight I gain; I’m at 250 right now, but I have the frame to put on a lot more. I want to be the best player I can be for them, and hopefully be a starter for a long time for Duke University.
BDN: What schools ultimately factored in your final decision?
Funny story, actually. As soon as I committed to Duke, I also picked up an offer from Clemson. All the offers I had were Air Force, App State, Duke, and Clemson.
BDN: Signing Day is still a long way away. What do you plan to tell other schools like Clemson when they keep calling you?
All I tell them is I’m a man of my word, and I gave Coach Cutcliffe my word. I’m a Duke Blue Devil commit, and I’m good for my word.
BDN: What do you have planned for the rest of the summer as you prepare for your senior year?
Actually, my dad and I already bought tickets, so we have to finish up the camp recruiting circuit. We’re going up to Maryland and Navy, but obviously I’m a Duke commit, so I guess we’re going to go pick up a t-shirt is really what we’re doing. [laughs] I’m just lifting right now and getting ready for my senior season, I hope it’s going to be a good one and we’re going to try and win state. That’s what my summer looks like, basically no vacation, just all work and no play.
BDN: Congratulations, Gabe, and thank you!
Thank you, you too.
This past weekend’s NBAPA Top 100 High School Camp in Charlottesville, VA was a different experience than in years past, and in many respects that was not a good thing. Media access was restricted significantly, quality one-on-one interviews were very tough to come by, and the whole atmosphere was a tad flat.
Whether the reason was the coaches just failing to reach the kids, or the players themselves not bringing much energy, the result was some unusually uninspired basketball on a huge stage. After a lackluster start to the event, the kids finally put their games into gear on the final day. But the truth nevertheless is that more players hurt their ratings than helped themselves.
It’s no secret that Duke had only a few real targets at the event, those being Jabari Parker, Al Freeman, and Semi Ojeleye. Here’s what I saw from those three as well as a number of others:
Jabari Parker - His skill set makes him a man among children. He can pretty much do it all on the court; I saw no weaknesses in his game in the two games he [private] played. When he wanted to score, he put the ball on the floor and scored, utilizing a variety of driving moves to do so. Jabari was cordial and open with the media, but no matter what others claim, he did no one-on-one interviews, other than one national one. Michigan State has made a move on Parker, but Duke is still right there. My pal Van Coleman, who you will hear more from this week, said he understood Duke led for his services. Maybe they do, but I am not by any means ready to call Duke the clear leader here. A quick look at Duke’s outstanding offers and the way they’re recruiting certain positions suggests they may feel as I do. The Blue Devils certainly are a player for Parker, but in all honesty I do not feel as good about it as I did a year ago when I felt he was Duke’s to lose. He will trim his list in July, and regardless, the Blue Devils will make that final cut.
Al Freeman - When I first heard Duke had offered Freeman, I was stunned. I had watched him play at the Carolina Challenge and frankly, could not see it. I haven’t changed my mind, or more accurately, his play hasn’t changed it. Freeman is a good defender who gets after it at that end, but he is not a point guard and certainly not a shooting guard either. Dave Telep really overrated this kid early on, but he will drop in the rankings. Freeman is stuck in tweener land, and it hasn’t helped him that his chemistry with Cat Barber for the Boo Williams AAU squad has been average at best. Nobody invited to an event like the NBAPA is a “bad” player of course, but in my opinion Freeman is just not a kid who can help at the level Duke plays. Freeman had so-so numbers this weekend, and did nothing to get anyone talking about him. But I do give him high marks for talking on the court and trying to pump his teammates up. I was unable to catch Freeman for an interview, but from all accounts little has changed beyond his recent decision to transfer to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas.
Semi Ojeleye - As you already know, this kid is mature, bright and grounded. But can he play? Yes. As Andrew has mentioned, Semi has that ESPN-ready game, meaning he will launch the 3 pointer and also throw down the thunderous dunk. It is a bit freaky to see a 6’6″ 220 pound player launch three point shots at this stage in his career, but Semi does it. But he needs to tighten his handle and go to work down low more. He is usually stronger than his opponent, so get down on the blocks more, already! Ojeleye is a good defender and had a lot of steals. His team made it to the finals, but lost to a team featuring 7’5″ Mamadou Ndiaye. Ojeleye held his own guarding Ndiaye. 7’5″? That’s insane. BTW, his first name is pronounced “Shimi,” and we had a laugh at me wrecking his name a couple of times after asking about it. Talk about tongue tied. Ojeleye is a good team player and I would love to see him in a Duke uniform.
Anthony Barber - This kid is quick off the dribble, gets to the rack fast, and finishes well. He’s also stronger than he looks. But he looks for his shot first and said as much to me in our interview. He will project as a PG and in time will be fine there, but right now he is a shooting guard. He lets his dribble get too far away from his body at times, causing a lack of control, but this is easily missed by many observers who are in awe of his speed. I think he should be a better defender too. But again, he is a bit of a black hole, hunting his shot on every play, so it was not surprising that while Barber was the camp’s top scorer, his assist totals were less than impressive. That may be the reason campers did not vote him to the All-Star game. Regardless, in my book he was a top 10 player at this camp, and most other analysts agreed. Barber will remain at or near the top of the list when talking guards in his class. There are some kids you can tell are enjoying the game and Barber is one of them. I like his game a whole lot, but I am not sure Duke likes it enough to offer.
Parker Cartright – So, I started to hear that Cartright grew up a Duke fan, so I made sure to ask him about that, as you will see in an interview. Most everybody at the camp liked him, but he looks like a junior high baller in that he has a slight build and may be 5’9″ on his tiptoes. The kid is unselfish and really involves his teammates in the action, and his speed can break a defense down. He’s a pesky defender, but if a bigger player gets him on his hip, he has a hard time recovering. He is high energy and has the drive to get better, and those are two things all coaches look for in a prospect. Great kid to talk to and has offers from Arizona and UCLA, but he lit up when I asked him about Duke. Problem is Duke is in with so many PG types, and many analysts feel he will be tough to get off the west coast in any event.
Cliff Alexander – I wanted to see where his head was and it is in the midwest. Duke will not waste its time unless something changes. He dominated at the camp and was clearly the best center there, keeping in mind that post play as a whole was not impressive in Charlottesville. Alexander has a mature body for his age and has the will to battle inside.
Noah Vonleh - His game impressed me; his off-court demeanor did not. I hardly got anything out of him during a multiple site interview, meaning he plays it close to the vest and/or is not enthused. UNC is on him hard and Duke may get involved with this 2014 kid, but my impression from the interview is that it may be too late to get in deep here unless Duke increases its effort level soon.
Wayne Selden – Wayne Selden is always consistent, but he did not stand out this weekend. Duke feels he will be a long shot and will likely stay on the sidelines on this one, but I like his game and his size.
Kavon Looney - This was the first time I focused in on his game and I liked him a lot. The 2014 star can do a little bit of everything and he played well here, holding his own against older players, particularly on the boards. We tried, but never could manage to get together for a one-on-one. He is worth keeping an eye on.
Others who caught my eye at the NBAPA Camp - Kuran Iverson, Andrew Harrison, Brannen Greene. Iverson appeared to be more motivated than when many last saw him, and he seemingly impressed everyone. Harrison is a complete player and was the better of the twin brothers on this weekend. Greene has improved leaps and bounds since the last time I saw him play.
Rodney Hood - No, he was not there. But I got asked by everybody what I thought about his pending decision.
Small world - So one writer who worked in Indy and is now with Rivals asked me about Hood. Turns out he wrote that controversial article on Coach K that appeared in the Indy paper during the FInal Four weekend when Duke defeated Butler. It was the article in which they acted as if a child used a crayon on the front page, drawing devil horns on Krzyzewski. It was tacky and unprofessional — a true brain poot by anyone’s standards. I then got the low-down and will only say he met with Duke officials per his paper’s request. For our SID’s privacy and others I will refrain from the details. He claimed he was awoken by a call from a friend, who asked, “What were you thinking?” He also claimed he knew nothing about it. When asked who did it, he claimed he didn’t know. Yeah, right. How does it not come out who took it upon themselves to let the paper go out as it did before being yanked off the newsstands?
Site shake ups – I saw Jerry Meyer in a 247 Camp and asked him when he went with them. As you know, 247 has courted us in a big way, but we chose to remain independent. Turns out Rivals let him and his big salary go, leaving Eric Bossi in charge along with the newly-hired Alex Kline, who uses smoke and mirror tactics better than anybody I know. Anyhow, I then learned ESPN shut down its High School division and that there was a major loss of jobs in the process.
Trouble ahead for the NBA? – A power struggle is brewing with the NBA and you could feel the tension in many cases. I had an interesting conversation with Dave Wasserman and while I cannot share what was said, let’s just say they will have a mess of legal issues once the Finals end.
The USA Basketball effect - Many were dismayed at the talent level at the NBAPA camp. It was the worst I’ve seen to date. Some quickly pointed the finger at USA Basketball, but I found it interesting what the overall take was on the future of patriotic hoops. The consensus was that props go to Mike Krzyzewski for his role in getting the world’s best on the same page and wanting to play. But many feel that once he steps down, USA Basketball will lose a lot of its popularity, and as a result the camps will be full again. Only time will tell on this one, but the theory is plausible and if accurate, it’s a real testament to Coach K’s influence. Speaking of USA Basketball, I will head to Coach K’s press conference tomorrow, and look forward to seeing what he has to say about his upcoming adventures. [/private]
They say that good things come in threes. The Blue Devils hope that saying holds true for offensive linemen. In their two most recent recruiting classes, Duke has dipped into the state of Texas for three talented offfensive line prospects in Tanner Stone, Austin Davis, and now Sterling Korona. At 6’7″ and 250 pounds, Korona is a big recruit for Coach Latina and the Blue Devils, both literally and figuratively. After choosing Duke over Kansas, Houston, SMU, Washington State, North Texas, Tulsa, and UTSA, the skilled rising senior explained his decision for BDN.
BDN: How did you inform the coaches and what was their reaction?
BDN: What type of player do you hope to be at Duke?
BDN: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
BDN: Are there any other schools that you would listen to if they called? Do you have any other visits planned?
When you’re hot, you’re hot. David Cutcliffe and co. are on a roll on the recruiting trail, securing four verbal commitments over the past 24 hours. With spring practice long over and this fall’s freshmen making their way onto campus, and with camp season now behind us, the Blue Devils have a much clearer picture of their recruiting board, their needs, and the remaining available scholarships. So it comes as no surprise that Duke’s recruiting has heated up.
But the first of the commitments was a bit of a surprise, as Mikey Ramsay, a 6’3″ 260 pounder out of the Walker School in Marietta, GA, signed on. A lightly-recruited prospect, Ramsay has starred on both sides of the ball, but likely projects at defensive tackle in college. He earned 1st team All-Region honors for his strong junior campaign, which included 37 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. Highlights
Sterling Korona is a big Texan that BDN was first to introduce to Duke fans early this spring. At 6’7″ and 250 pounds, the star offensive tackle from Ronald Reagan HS saw his stock soar this spring, as he picked up offers from Kansas, North Texas, Southern Methodist, UTSA, Washington State, and Tulsa. He called Duke a “special place” after his visit earlier this year, and ultimately made his pledge to Duke after touring campuses nationwide this summer. Highlights
The 2013 offensive line class received another big boost on Monday afternoon, as Gabe Brandner added his pledge to join Austin Davis and Korona in Durham. At 6’6″ and 250 pounds out of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, SC, Brandner brings more great size to the Duke o-line of the future. He chose the Blue Devils over offers from Appalachian State, Air Force, and Clemson.
Last, but certainly not least, the Blue Devils added a commitment from California ATH Darren Andrews. At 5’10” and 160 pounds, the rising senior out of La Puente’s Bishop Amat impressed on both sides of the ball at a recent Duke camp. As a Blue Devil, Andrews is likely to get a long look at receiver, where he is able to use his elite speed to separate from defenders. The Blue Devils ultimately beat out Hawaii for his commitment.
Welcome to #dukegang, Mike, Sterling, Gabe, and Darren!
In the final game of his freshman campaign, 6’3″ guard Isaiah “Boogie” Briscoe scored a team-leading seventeen points for St. Benedict’s against eventual ESPN National High School Invitational Champion Findlay Prep. Throughout the season, Briscoe demonstrated a maturity and fearlessness that belied his youth.
Playing for a program that starts very few freshman, Briscoe nevertheless started in the Gray Bees backcourt with the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year, 6’2″ Tyler Ennis, and 6’3″ future Miami Hurricane Melvin Johnson. Under the guidance of Mark Taylor, they elevated the program to a 36-3 record, with Boogie averaging over thirteen points and over five assists against a challenging national schedule. For his efforts, the Union, New Jersey native was named to the MaxPreps Freshman All-American team, along with his close friend, 6’11” Karl Towns, also of New Jersey.
Briscoe received scholarship offers before he ever set foot on a high school court, and they have continued to rain in from across the country. He has already received offers from Syracuse, Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, Baylor, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Seton Hall, as well as interest from Duke, Kentucky, and Ohio State.
Briscoe’s bloodlines are long and deep. His dad, George Briscoe, was a standout for Stockton State College in New Jersey, and now works in Newark, NJ as part of a community action group. His older sister, 5’11” Iasia Hemingway, just finished her final season as a member of Syracuse’s women’s basketball team. Isaiah’s cousin, Kyrie Irving of West Orange, NJ and Duke University, was recently named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Boogie” Briscoe has other connections to Duke University. St. Benedict’s is the alma mater of 2010 National Champion and current Hornet forward Lance Thomas. Coach Mark Taylor coached former Duke All-American and current ESPN analyst Jason Williams for four years at nearby St. Joe’s of Metuchen, NJ. At a press conference at the NHSI, Coach Taylor reportedly said that he sometimes teases Williams that Isaiah may wind up developing into a better player than the former national high school player of the year.
There’s been no rest after the high school season for the promising young guard from the Garden State. He’s now played ten Nike EYBL games this AAU season for the New Jersey Playaz, the AAU program of former Duke guard and current Bobcat Gerald Henderson, and helped them qualify for next month’s Peach Jam in South Carolina. Briscoe participated in last month’s Mary Kline Classic, a charity basketball event dedicated to raising money for brain cancer research, named after the mother of his close friend Alex Kline.
This June, “Boogie” Briscoe headed to Long Beach, California to participate in the Pangos All-American Camp. Although he was one of the youngest participants, his fearless play resulted in his being named a Pangos Cream of the Crop Top 30 selection. Last weekend, Briscoe participated in Nike’s Elite 100, a St. Louis-based showcase designed to find and enhance some of the best young talent in the country.
Isaiah “Boogie” Briscoe spoke with Blue Devil Nation about Coach Taylor’s comparison to former NBA lottery pick Jay Williams, about fighting complacency, and on the advice he received from Kyrie Irving, among other things.
Let’s talk about your season at St. Benedict’s and how it went overall. [private]
You know I had a great first year. I think I finished with 517 (points) playing with Melvin (Johnson, a Miami commitment) and Tyler (Ennis, the Gatorade Player of the Year for New Jersey). It was a great experience. We went 36-3, went to ESPN Rise, and I just think we played well.
You had a chance to play on national television this year in the NHSI.
It was a great experience to play on ESPN and going against great guards like Dominic Artis. Just playing in front of everybody and competing is just great and I had fun. We competed.
Did you feel any added pressure being on TV?
I don’t believe in pressure so playing on TV is like playing here or on the playground or anything like that.
What did you think when your coach at St. Benedict’s, Mark Taylor, said you may wind up better than Jason Williams. How do you feel about that comparison? That’s some pretty high praise.
Yeah, it is and it’s a blessing. You know I’m a freshman and comparing me to the second overall pick in the draft, it’s just a blessing and as I continue to work hard maybe I can follow after him. I mean he was a lottery pick and the player of the year in college. It’s a lot to live up to. He’s a tremendous player.
Speaking of Jason Williams, another Duke guard, your cousin Kyrie, just won the Rookie of the Year award in the NBA. You must be very proud of him.
You know that’s great. I work out with him sometimes when he’s back home so him winning rookie of the year is just great for the family and everything. I just want to follow in his footsteps especially and keep it in the family.
Does he give you any advice?
Yeah, he always gives me advice. He tells me to keep working hard, do right in school, keep my head straight and everything else will follow.
What are your goals for the rest of the summer?
Well, you know we’re going to the Peach Jam. I want to do well in the Peach Jam and perform well. And just get in the gym and work on my speed and agility with my father and that’s probably it.
You were mostly a combo or two guard on the St. Ben’s team, but what do you view yourself as long-term?
I’m a point guard, but, with Tyler there, he’s one of the top point guards in the country. I’ll do whatever I have to do for us to win. If Coach wanted me to score more, I scored more. Pass more, drive more, whatever, I’ll do it. With Ty and me in the backcourt, we’re gonna be tough next year too. After he graduates, I’ll move over to point guard. It’s his time to shine.
What’s it like playing with Tyler? He had a great year in his own right. Gatorade Player of the Year. You guys are relatively close in age, but is he able to mentor you a bit?
He’s been great to play with and we’ve got a good chemistry. He shows me some things.
He’s an efficient player.
Oh, yeah, definitely. He makes great decisions. He takes good shots and he can find the open man. He makes it look simple.
People are always interested in recruiting. I know you’ve already got a lot of programs after you. Can you list some of the programs that are interested in you?
Yeah, I’ve been blessed. UConn, Arizona, Syracuse, Florida, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Baylor have all offered so far and schools like Duke, Kentucky, and Ohio State have shown interest.
Are you in a rush to decide?
No, I guess I’m not in a rush, but I’d rather decide sooner than later. My mom would like to take my time. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I want to take, like, four years to decide.
What do you consider some of your strengths and weaknesses right now?
My strengths are that I’m an all around point guard. I can play combo, so anything that coach needs me to play I can play. I can score, penetrate, pass. I’m competitive. My weakness, I’m not going to tell you my weakness, you’re just going to have to find out (laughs). I’m working on getting on my handle, my outside shot, getting quicker, and some footwork.
Are there any players you try and model your game after?
Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Tyreke Evans. Kyrie too.
Kyrie has taken over that motto of ‘humble and hungry.’ Is that something that you try to follow?
Yeah, yeah, I follow that motto. You know just try and stay level-headed, don’t get too big headed, and just continue to do what I’m doing. Stay hungry!
There’s always a concern that some young people who are ranked highly will become content and satisfied. How do you fight or guard against complacency and not rest on your early laurels?
Just never rest (smiles and laughs). You know whenever I get a chance to go in the gym I’m working hard. Everybody in Cali is always working hard when I’m sleeping so I just got to work hard when I get a chance. I know that there are guys in my class working on their game in Chicago and Vegas and Jersey. You can’t let your guard down.
What are you looking for in a program when you finally make a decision?
A great education, open court games, pick and roll, a great coach and system and things like that.
Are you a good student?
Are you, at least, a B student?
Oh, yeah, definitely. My family always pushes me.
How about your coach? What do you want your coach to be like?
I want him to yell at me and everything, but also understand the game. I want a hall of fame coach and things like that. I want a tough and fair coach. Coach Taylor has helped push me. I like that.
Where do you like to catch the ball most?
Usually on the wings… I can pass, shoot or drive. Tyler gets me the ball in good spots.
Your dad credited some of your toughness from playing a lot in Newark. Do you feel that has had an effect on you and playing with toughness?
It made me a tougher person. When I was younger, I would always hang out with older guys and they’d show me the ropes of the streets and everything.
Let’s discuss your defense a little bit. Where do you feel you’re at with that right now?
If it was graded I think I’m at a solid B. My defense is getting better and it got better dramatically during the high school season. Coach (Mark) Taylor (St. Benedict’s head coach) helped me a lot on my defense so it’s getting better.
Do you have any visits you’re taking this summer?
Yeah, I didn’t plan it yet, but I’m going to visit Arizona and Florida this summer.
Who do you think is the toughest player you’ve had to play against?
I’d say Dominic Artis (2012 Oregon signee) and Kyle Anderson (2012 UCLA signee), those are probably the toughest players I’ve played against.
There aren’t too many high schools that have produced an NBA player, let alone multiple ones at the same time. At Saint Benedict’s, you’ve got guys like J.R. Smith with the Knicks, Lance Thomas with the Hornets, and Samardo (Samuels) with the Cavs right now. Is there a lot of talk internally about things like legacy or looking to those guys as, sort of, role models?
Yes and no, we look at those guys like we want to get where they already are and we don’t want to let the program drop or anything, but we just try to work on our games and win right now. Hopefully, Melvin (Johnson) will make the NBA and then Tyler (Ennis) and then me. I definitely hope to join all of them in the NBA one day. I’m just trying to work on my game and, hopefully, one day I can get there too. That’s all I can do, you know, work. We respect all of them… a lot.
What are you hoping to show coaches this summer?
That I play hard and smart. I want to show them that I can play with the ball and without. I want to show them that I can score, pass, and that I’m an all-around type of player. I love playing basketball…and hopefully they can see that too.
Can you tell the audience a little bit about your family? Your dad works as part of a community group in Newark and I heard that your mom works in a financial business?
Yeah, my dad tries to help the community in Newark and my mom works in an accounting office.
So, that’s why you do well in school. She’s pretty smart?
Oh, yeah, she’s really smart. (laughs)
You played well in the Mary Kline Classic and helped with the games and some of the behind the scenes things.
Oh, yeah, well, it’s a great cause and Alex (Kline) is a great person. I just wanted to help in any way that I could. There were a lot of good players in that game. I mean Alex has been great to me and helped me a lot with advice. It was a lot of fun and we helped to raise a lot for an important cause. I talk to Alex almost every day.
What about the Pangos All-American Camp?
Well, it’s great to have a chance to play against some of the best kids from around the country. I think I’ve played well out here and learned some things. It’s been fun.
What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?
That I’m a happy kid that likes to make people laugh and smile. That I’m a good kid and I work hard. People always say that I make them laugh.
Speaking of working hard, you work out regularly with your dad, who used to play in college, on Saturday mornings. What do you guys work on primarily?
Oh, we work on just about everything. My handle, shooting from all areas, conditioning. We practice and play for hours. He gets after me.
Speaking of conditioning, what are you trying to do with your body? Get leaner? Get stronger? What are you hoping to improve about your body?
I’m actually pretty lean. It just looks bigger than some guys my age. We’re trying to get quicker and stronger. Those are pretty much the main things.
Where are you working on your strength? At school, a local gym, or home?
Mostly, the gym.
What are your expectations and goals for the next high school season?
We’re going to try to win the national title. We want to win the NHSI. We came very close this year, but we’ll be better next year. I’ve got to continue to improve. We’ve got some good talent coming in too!
Has Coach talked with you about how your role or responsibilities might change?
Yes, he said that I’ll be handling the ball more and playing mostly with Tyler. He expects me to step up and take more of a leadership role as a sophomore. I’ve got to keep improving and working. Help the team and be an example with Tyler for other players.
Can you give the audience a scouting report on Karl Towns, one of your close friends? Also what’s he like as a person?
Oh, he’s an incredible player. Karl can shoot as well as any guard, but he’s about 6’11.” He’s got great post moves and he’ll show more of that this year. He’s a great defender and he’s getting stronger too. Off the court, he’s smart. Karl’s a leader and just a great person. He loves to laugh too. He cares a lot about people. We used to play on the same AAU team, but we don’t now.
You think that you’ll play together again in the future?
Just watch, though, Karl’s gonna join us for AAU in the future. We’ll play again in the future. (laughs) I’m sure of that. I’ve just got to convince him to join us. (laughs)
You were named to the MaxPreps Freshman All-American team. What did that honor mean to you?
Oh, I’m always grateful for every award or trophy. I’m trying to help my team win and get better, but it’s always great to have somebody say something positive about your work. It means that you’re doing something right…and I’ve just got to keep it up. I can’t rest or let it get to my head.
How did you get the nickname “Boogie?”
Oh, it was when I was really young. I’m not sure what age exactly, but I kept running around and people just started calling me “Boogie.”
In the future, would you rather I call you Isaiah or Boogie?
Oh, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s whatever you prefer.
Before one of the schools that you mentioned showing interest in you was Duke, what do you know about their program?
They’re recruiting me. They’re always one of the best programs in the country. They’ve got Coach K. He’s a Hall of Fame Coach. He spoke to me when I was younger. They’ve sent a lot of guys to the League.
What did Coach K say to you?
Just advice. He just told me to keep working hard and maybe they’ll recruit me one day. It was real cool.
Do you have any plans to visit their campus? What do you know about the school itself?
No, not yet, but maybe someday. I don’t really know too much about the campus or school. I’d like to know more.
What is their pitch to you?
You know, just that I’m on their radar and to keep working hard and to make sure that I’m doing right in school.
You’re still very young so you have a long ways to go. Usually, Duke doesn’t start getting very serious until players are a little older than you.
Yeah, I don’t know a lot about Duke yet. I know Kyrie went there and they have a lot of NBA players, and Coach K’s a Hall of Fame coach.
Who’s your favorite pro team?
I really don’t have one. I like individual players. I like to watch big or strong guards like Deron Williams, Tyreke, Kyrie, or Chris Paul. There are so many guys that just switch teams.
Who are you close to on the AAU circuit?
I’m friends with everybody really. I’m close with Karl (Towns) and Kyle (Anderson) and Tyler (Ennis). You know Wayne Selden, Stanley Johnson, Kevin Zabo from CIA Bounce, I’m cool with everybody.
Thanks a lot for your time. I appreciate it.
Sure thing, I told you I got you.