Rodney Hood to miss University Games

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke’s Rodney Hood, one of 16 finalists for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team, ended his participation in the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team training camp Friday due to an injury to his right achilles. Hood suffered the injury during an evening practice Wednesday, June 26.

“I feel so sorry for Rodney,” said USA head coach Bob McKillop. “He committed himself fully to be a part of this team, and we will miss him. He would have been a valuable team member for USA Basketball.”

Hood earned his finalists spot on June 26, after beginning training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as one of 26 players on June 24. Hood sat out last season after transferring to Duke from Mississippi State. The Meridian, Miss., native averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebound and 2.0 assists per game while earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors in his lone season in Starkville.

The USA’s camp will continue through June 30, and the 12-member roster will be announced prior to the team’s departure for Russia on July 1. The 2013 World University Games (WUGs) men’s basketball competition will be played July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia.

Contending for one of 12-roster spots are: Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado); Yogi Ferrell (Indiana); Davante Gardner (Marquette); Treveon Graham (Virginia Commonwealth); Jerian Grant (Notre Dame); Luke Hancock (Louisville); Tyler Haws (BYU); Cory Jefferson (Baylor); Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati); Alex Kirk (New Mexico); Doug McDermott (Creighton); Adreian Payne (Michigan State); Chasson Randle (Stanford); Will Sheehey (Indiana); and Aaron White (Iowa).

After departing for Russia on July 1, the USA will practice on July 3-6 in Kazan, Russia, including scrimmages on July 4 against Russian basketball club UNICS and on July 5 against the Russia World University Games Team before beginning World University Games play on July 7.

The USA has drawn preliminary round Group C for the 2013 World University Games men’s basketball competition, along with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Sweden and United Arab Emirates. Playing in Group A are Estonia, Germany, Oman, Russia, Ukraine and South Korea. Playing in Group B are Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippines, Romania and Serbia. Group D includes Brazil, Chile, China, Finland, Lithuania and Norway.

The USA will take on UAE at 6:30 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia, is +8 hours from EDT) on July 7; followed by Czech Republic at 1 p.m. on July 8; and Sweden at 9 p.m. on July 10; Australia at 6:30 p.m. on July 11; and Canada at 1 p.m. on July 12.

Following the preliminary round, the first- and second-placed teams in each of the four pools advance to the medal quarterfinals on July 14 to compete for first through eighth places; while the remaining teams will play out for ninth to 24th places. The semifinals will be played on July 15, and the finals will be contested on July 16.

World University Games

The United States has claimed 19 medals in the World University Games since beginning play in 1965, and has captured a record 13 golds, three silvers and three bronze medals in the 20 WUGs in which a USA Basketball men’s squad has competed. The USA men own a stellar 138-9 record in WUGs play, and the U.S. captured six of the first seven gold medals awarded in the WUGs basketball competition, including six consecutive gold medals from 1989 through 1999. In 2001 the USA fell to host China, which featured half of its 2000 Olympic team, including Yao Ming, Menk Bateer and Wang ZhiZhi, by a single point in the semifinal and finished with the bronze. The USA again captured the gold medal in 2005 and most recently, finished in fifth place with a 7-1 record after falling to Lithuania 76-74 in the 2011 quarterfinals.

Q & A with Duke Prospect Kavon Looney

kavon-looneyThere are a select few players out there whom Duke is recruiting who are not on the Nike EYBL Circuit, and Milwaukee native Kavon Looney (Class of 2014, 6-7)  is one of those prospects.  I was finally able to see Looney live during the recent NBAPA Top 100 Camp, and all the raves I have heard about his play were deserved.  What I saw in Looney is a kid who hustled non-stop and was very active, always seeming to be around the ball.  Within the first five minutes of sitting down to view him. he blocked successive shots on one defensive possession and hustled to take care of any garbage or putbacks.  I usually like to watch five full games of any prospect before trying to break down his game, but it didn’t take that many views of Looney for me to realize why Duke is so high on him.  The Blue Devils are certainly in the mix for Looney and it is clear that there is mutual admiration here per his comments, but this race is a hotly-contested one.  Looney confirmed to Blue Devil Nation that he would indeed narrow his list of schools just after the July 4th holiday, and there is little reason to think Duke will not make that cut.  There is little not to like about this young man’s game, especially his desire and hustle.  With that said, premium members can read the full interview below, and I will talk more about Looney and further break down his game on the BDN Premium message boards if there are any questions.

 

How would you describe your game in your own words?

I play hard and I am versatile and I try to be tough and smart out there.

I’m hearing you are ready to cut your list to five schools.  When will that decision actually take place?

Yes, I will cut my list to five on July 5th.

Who will play important roles in your decision-making process?

My parents and [private] my AAU Coach will have influence on my decision. They’ve been in the process from the start and will be there until the end.

Where or when did you learn the game of hoops?

My Dad and my brother when I was about six or seven. We’d go down to the park and play and I would watch him. And then, since the third grade, I have been with the same AAU team.

Which schools have been the most active or aggressive in recruiting you to date?

I would say about five or six. Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Duke and Tennessee and Georgetown is starting to pick it up again.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

I really didn’t follow college basketball during the season a lot but I would watch the tournament, so I really didn’t have a dream school growing up.

Did you have a player you liked one where you would try to  emulate their style on the court growing up?

My favorite player is Kobe and I like the Lakers, so I he got injured.

Will you be taking all five of the official visits you are allotted before making a decision?

Yes, I do plan on taking all five official visits before making a decision.

What do you think of Duke?

Duke is a great school with great tradition. They’ve got a legendary coach and a great brand for school and basketball, so I am showing a lot of interest in Duke.

What are your plans for the rest of summer?

I am not sure, but I am going to the LeBron James Skills Academy and I will go to Vegas.

Do you currently have a timeline for making a decision?

Yes, I want to do it before the high school season which could be around November or something like that.

What is the most important factor that have influence on your pending decision?

I would say communication and trust. The coach who I have the best relationship with is probably where I will end up going. [/private]

 

Rasheed Sulaimon Talks USA Basketball

sheed usaCOLORADO SPRINGS, CO—On the surface, it may seem odd to put the words “sophomore” and “veteran” in the same sentence. For Duke sophomore to-be Rasheed Sulaimon, though, he’ll step into a leadership role this upcoming season after a promising rookie campaign in Durham.

An All-ACC freshman last year, the 6-foot-3 and 180-pound shooting guard averaged 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while starting most of the season in his first year as a Blue Devil.

As the squad’s best creator off the bounce last season, ‘Sheed—a favorite amongst the fan base—even carried the senior-laden Blue Devils in a few huge games, notably in big wins over Ohio State (17 points), Maryland (25 points) and Creighton (21 points).

Sulaimon arrived in Colorado Springs with eyes set on making the U.S. National U-19 team and bringing home a gold medal, while continuing to enhance his game as he gears up his second collegiate season. He’s accomplished the former and has done so against elite competition on a daily basis in practice. Fellow team members Elfrid Payton of Louisiana Lafayette, Houston prep standout Justise Winslow, Florida’s Michael Frazier, Washington-bound Nigel Williams Gross and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart—who spurned the opportunity to be a potential top-5 pick in this year’s NBA Draft to return to Stillwater for his sophomore year—have all pushed Sulaimon immensely during training camp.

Getting into the paint and hitting mid-range and long-range jumpers consistently, Sulaimon was among the most assertive individuals on the floor in Colorado. After winning the gold medal with the U.S. U-18 team last summer, ‘Sheed has been one of the most vocal during practices, so it’s no surprise he made the final, 12-man roster.

Off the court, Sulaimon has been rooming with fellow U-19 teammates Jahlil Okafor and Winslow—two coveted Blue Devil recruiting targets in the class of 2014—making this U.S. experience all that more critical on the Duke front.

Sunday evening, the rising sophomore took time to reflect on his experience with the U.S. National Team and his performance, as well as his thoughts on what looks to be a vastly different Blue Devil team for the 2013-14 college basketball season.

Question: First off, I see that you have your left wrist all taped up today. What exactly happened?

Answer: “Yeah, just Duke basketball. I was diving for a loose ball yesterday and kind of hurt my wrist, got a little floor burn and got a big blister. I’ll be alright, though.

Question: So, it’s nothing to severe then?

Answer: “No, nothing too severe. It should be fine.”

Question: What has this U.S. basketball experience been like for you going against the best of the best in an entirely different setting like this? How does this help you grow as a player?

Answer: Well, first and foremost it’s just an honor to be here. Great coaches and top guys that I’m competing against everyday. It’s been great so far. Like I said, it’s been very competitive. I’ve been learning a lot of new terminology, and we’re already strategizing for our game plans in Prague. So, everybody is getting read and there’s been great energy here so far.”

Question: Walk me through your summer. Where have you been and what all have you been up to?

Answer: “I went home for a little bit, and I’ve just been working out each and everyday twice a day.  I went back to Duke for the K Academy and then came back home. Now, I’m here. If I don’t make it here, I’ll go to Kevin Durant Camp, but as you can see hopefully I make this team.”

Question: So, you’ll be back at Duke for the second summer school session? And the whole team will be together from that point on, correct?

Answer: “Definitely. As soon as I get back, I’m going straight back to Duke. No time off.”

Question: You have been rooming with your buddy Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor—two guys Duke is heavily involved with—here in Colorado Springs. What’s the dynamic been like between you and those two guys?

Answer: “Those guys are very mature for their age. They are great players and more importantly they are great guys. I’ve enjoyed my time with them. We have formed a bond even though it’s just been a short amount of time here. Hopefully we can continue to develop a great relationship, and hopefully we can be future teammates as well.”

Question: So have you been doing any sort of recruiting on this trip?

Answer: “You know not really. They already have great respect for Duke, the program and Coach K. I’ve been through the recruiting process and sometime it can get a little bit annoying. But I’m here for them and if they have questions I answer them. More importantly, I’m their friend and I’m just trying to be a great teammate.”

Question: What all has the Duke coaching staff said to you in terms of what they want you to work on this summer? And what kind of role do they envision for you next year?

Answer: “Definitely I just have to get better in every aspect of the game. I have to get stronger, get quicker. I’ve really been working on my ball handling skills. And I think my role will be even greater next year, especially with the loss of the three seniors and captains. Just stepping into that leadership role, I’ve been there and I know what to expect now. I’ve got to help the younger guys and help everyone be on the same page because as soon as we get back [in July] we’re working for a championship.”

Question: Next year’s squad is going to look a lot different than year’s past. Lots of athletes, lots of wings, lots of versatility. What are your thoughts on the style of play Duke fans are going to see with you, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker and the rest of the team?

Answer: “Like you said, we are going to be a completely different ball club and completely different outlook than last year. We are going to be really athletic, versatile. I think our style of play is going to be a lot faster paced. We are going to press a lot, get up and down the court and space the court. We have a lot of talented players and talented scorers. We are going to be a very hard team to guard, and we’ll just space the floor and give people the opportunity to create for themselves and others.”

Question: Three promising freshman set to arrive in Durham here shortly: Matt Jones, Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye. What is your relationship like with those guys?

Answer: “I’ve known Matt Jones for a pretty long time. He’s a Texas kid as well, so I’ve always been pretty close with him. Jabari, me and him met each other about three years ago on the AAU circuit, and we’ve always had a great relationship. He’s a great kid. And Semi is the only guy I need to get to know more. He seemed like a great person on the couple visits he took to Duke. I’m just excited. Everyone is looking forward to the season. And like I said, we have the opportunity to be a special team and have a special year.”

Question: In today’s culture of college basketball, sophomores are a lot of the time veterans. Do you plan to kind of take these freshmen under your wing this upcoming season?

Answer: “Definitely. And that’s a challenge that Coach K wants me to take. Like I said, I’ve gone through a year of this and just like guys took me under their wing last year, now it’s my turn. I’m next in line. I have to step up in that leadership role quickly here and be a leader to those guys.” 

Question: Back to the U-19 team, what are your thoughts on the style of play implemented by VCU head coach Shaka Smart and Florida head coach Billy Donovan? 

Answer: “It’s fun. It’s relentless, but I like it and I think it fits our team well with us being so athletic at every position.”

Question: Talk to me about some of the individual matchups you’ve had here at this training camp. Marcus Smart, another Texas guy, and some of the others. Who has challenged you the most here?

Answer: “Everybody here can play. Damyean Dotson [Oregon], a fellow Houstonian, Michael Frazier [Florida], Marcus Smart [Oklahoma State] and even Elfrid Payton [Louisiana Lafayette]. All these guys bring something different to the table. They can shoot, they can dribble. Marcus is strong. I’m seeing every kind of guard that I’m going to see here. I’m pretty sure the competition that we’re having going against each other everyday is as good as anything I see in the season.”

2015 Prospect Tyler Dorsey Hears From Duke

Tyler Dorsey

One of the better prospects on the west coast is 6-3 shooting guard Tyler Dorsey out of Bellflower, California.  He’s rated in many of the services top ten players in the class of 2015 and the top guard by many in his class.  In fact one of my AAU circuit friends and a well respected talent evaluator from the west coast, Dinos Tragonis, said the Dorsey would be a good fit with Duke and the way they use their lead guards in a chat we had.  Dorseys Dad was a multi sport athlete, so there is some lineage at work here.  “He’s a confident player and aggressive on both ends of the court.  I see him as a college two guard and an NBA point,” said Tragonis.  Dorsey was often seen this past weekend with the ball in his hands, meaning he was running the point as often as he was what many refer to as the shooting or two guard spot.  It was clear to me that he was still getting accustomed to the point but he certainly is what I would term a hybrid guard and hybrids have become all the rage in the college game of late with their ability to cause match up problems for the opposing team.  If you have followed the Blue Devils over the years, you realize that Coach Mike Krzyzewski does not always play traditional positions but more match ups., so I can see Tragonis point.  It was about a decade ago now that I broke a Tragonis Belmont Shores product to Duke named DeMarcus Nelson who was the epitome of a hybrid guard.  What I am saying is that Tragonis knows what kind of players the Blue Devils are looking for in that he’s had a long relationship with the staff.  “Dorsey can be as good a distributor as a scorer if he has good players around him,” said Tragonis and it was shortly after that when I noticed Dorseys knowledge of the game as he tried to direct teammates with a constant chatter to the right position on the court.  And like many good players, you could see the frustration on his face when guys were not spacing properly or when they would not carry through on the court to loosen up the passing lanes.  Anyhow, Dorsey is a young man to keep and eye on and now that he is on the radar, check out the latest on him in our interview below where he speaks of Duke contact and more.

 

Now that the contact period is open for contact with collegiate coaches again, have you heard from Duke?

They [private]  texted me early this morning. I as going to call them back during the break. They just wanted to see how I was doing at the camp saying they had heard good things and to call them when I got a chance. I forgot it was the 15th and woke up and found all these text messages on my phone. It’s going to start picking up. I will be more pro active seeking better relationships with the coaches.

Who was the first school to offer you?

Louisville was the first school to offer but no new teams in the fray.

When will you trim your list in a serious fashion?

Right now, I’m open to any team in the country and just starting to weigh my options.

Do you have an early idea on when you may ultimately make a decision of what school you will attend?

Maybe during my junior season or at the end of the summer.

Do any schools currently stand out in the process?

Arizona is standing out and USC and UCLA are the home schools and I am just trying to figure out if I want to stay at home. UConn, Louisville and Gonzaga stand out as well.

What are some of the most important factors for you when it comes to choosing a school?

It just depends on how the coach wants to play me and how he can get me to the next level mainly.

When you make your decision, who will be involved or council you on the process?

It will be a family decision with my parents.

Any visits coming up?

I have two visits to Arizona and Arizona State coming up maybe a week after the NBA camp, but no set dates yet.

Did you like the fact that Duke contacted you?

It’s kind of a big deal but the name of the school doesn’t mean as much to me as a relationship with the coach and getting to that next level while looking at who they’re bringing in.

Despite the Blue Devils contact, it is clear that there is work to be done if they continue to show keen interest. We should know in the coming month or so when Coach Krzyzewski can get out and get a view whether Duke is to become a serious player for the young prospects services. [/private]

1

Grayson Allen talks Duke, workouts and his future with BDN

1Grayson Allen has helped lead his Southern Stampede AAU team to seven straight wins where they’ll advance to the EYBL Finals know as the Peach Jam this July in Augusta, South Carolina.  Most recently, Allen attended the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Virginia where he competed against some of the nation’s top collegiate prospects.  Blue Devil Nation caught up to the future Dukie and he shared how the recruiting process went down in detail.  He also gave us his thoughts on his most recent camp experience and how it helps him moving forward, not to mention his rooming with another key Duke target Kavon Looney and what the staff has him working on.  What I learned about Allen was that he’s athletic.  Standing around 6-3, he competed in an impromptu dunk contest and took off from the free throw line to flush one down.  He has a good and improving handle is unselfish despite his ability to score.  Anyhow, check out our latest interview from the NBA Top 100 Camp and join BDN Premium to read all of our past articles and the many to come.

What do you feel like you have learned or will take with you moving forward from this camp? 

That it’s tough competition. Every time down the court you can’t just make a play and shoot it yourself. You definitely have to get your teammates involved and there are really good post men down low so you have to feed them. But mostly, you learn how to be professional on and off the court and you focus on how to carry yourself.

Wow!  You rolled that right out and seem quite humble as well.

Yes sir. My parents instill in me to stay focused and humble.

Your tweets seem to reflect that you have a religious up bringing.

I was born and raised in a Christian home, so pretty much everything I see is what God has blessed me with. So I just perform on the platform given to me by him to show others Christ.

So when did Duke actually offer you and what was your reaction at the time to that?

Last summer, about April and then they saw me play in July. Coach Nate James came to my high school two or three times and watched me play and I stayed in contact with him after that. They called and set up an in home visit and I felt like we hit it off then.

How soon did you know after the offer you wanted to go to Duke?

When they scheduled the home visit I had a feeling that [private] the offer was going to come. So when it did come I had already thought about it a lot. Coach K, Coach Wojo and Coach Capel being in the house and the fact I had already thought about it a lot and after sitting and talking with them it was an easy decision. I just had a feeling Duke was where I wanted to go and after thinking and praying on it, I made the call.

Have you heard from the staff of late?

Yeah. I text Coach Wojo and Coach Scheyer.

So Jon Scheyer is getting involved already?

Yeah, yeah.

Are you happy to see a former Duke shooter on the staff now?

Oh yeah. It’s gonna be cool. He’s still a young guy and he was obviously a great player at Duke, so I feel like I can learn a lot from him.

Once in the fold, the staff will tell their future players what to work on. Can you share any of that with us?

They want me to work and try to be a lock down defender and guard multiple positions including the one, two and possibly the three because I will really have to do that at the next level while keeping an aggressive mind-set.

Let’s talk about the impromptu dunk contest you guys had in between drills. You took off from the free throw line and flushed a dunk down. Can you talk a little bit about that?

It feels really good. (grinning) All I can say is that it was God-given because my parents weren’t big athletes or anything. My Dad played a little football and basketball.

Is it me or do you have some big feet?

[Laughs] Yes.

I didn’t know if it was just my vision or the yellow sneakers you were wearing.

Big feet and hands. I wear a size 16 shoe.

Wow! Does that mean you’re still growing?

Yeah, that’s what the doctors tell me. I have had some problems with my left knee. That’s the knee I jump off and the doctor said it’s (I tried to transcribe what it was called but never quite got the translation), so he thinks I could be 6-6 but I could be full-grown, I don’t know for sure.

Will you be attending any skills academies?  What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

I’m going to the Kevin Durrant one for sure.  I will be going to the Peach Jam and the Super Showcase and then I am not sure what my team will be doing. We have a free week, but it’s a live period for the college coaches so we’ll do something.

The following are some additional comments when another site entered the interview -

On what he’s currently working on …

Right now, I continue to work on my ball handling and consistency on my shot. I had a little bit of an off weekend, so I need to work on consistency there. As a ninth grader I had that kind of chicken wing shot.

On playing with some NBA types …

You might watch some of these players on T.V. and think I can take them, I can take them but being out here with them is a reality check. They are way, way, way ahead of us and we have a lot of work to do.

On his impending workouts …

When I get a little bit of free time this summer I already have trainer and a workout program to start on and lift some weight to prepare for the next level and college.

On rooming with Kavon Looney …

I’ve been in his ear a little bit concerning Duke, we talked about it some.

You said yesterday, you were trying to be low key.

Yeah, he’s a great player who can stretch out the defense.

Thanks for your time.

Yes sir.  Thank you.

Talk about this interview on the BDN Premium message board where I give my analogy on his game. [/private]

Jahlil Okafor updates his status with BDN

Jahlil Okafor USABBCOLORADO SPRINGS, CO—Traditional, back-to-the-basket big men of elite caliber are becoming synonymous with rare across the basketball landscape. And that’s precisely why Jahlil Okafor—the top-ranked player in the class of 2014 according to ESPN—is one of the more unique prospects to come through the prep ranks in recent years.

The Chicago product has been a known commodity for years, garnering high-major offers as an underclassman. The Duke coaching staff pulled the trigger abnormally early by extending him a scholarship during the fall of his sophomore year.

Increasing hype and media attention has been the norm since then, but for good reason. The Whitney Young High School superstar is a throwback center with a wide body, soft touch, impeccable footwork and a diverse arsenal of scoring moves on the low block. He possesses legitimate NBA size and power for the center position at 6-foot-11 and 270-pounds. To top it all off, he’s an intelligent player who predicates his game on winning rather than individual achievement.

The Blue Devil coaching staff has swung and missed on a handful of its priority big men on the recruiting trail these past few years, which makes its chase for Okafor all that more important, as well as [private] compelling. Fair or unfair, there is a widespread stigma of Duke’s inability to utilize and produce quality post players circulating around the college basketball landscape. For years, Blue Devil fans have pegged Okafor—who has unofficially visited Duke twice in his high school career—as the player to change that perception in Durham. To up the stakes even more in the recruitment, Okafor has strongly contended that he will attend the same school as his close friend Tyus Jones—the top-ranked point guard in the class of 2014.

Eight schools occupy Okafor’s list of prospective college programs: Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Due to a recurring ankle sprain, Okafor has been forced to miss much of the action of this spring on Nike EYBL circuit with his AAU team the Mac Irvin Fire.

Along with fellow prepster Justise Winslow, the almost fully healthy Okafor is one of just two high schoolers vying for a spot on the U.S. U-19 National Team, which is headlined by mostly rising sophomores in college. During practices, it was evident that Okafor was one of the best players on the floor and will likely centerpiece of the team hungry to claim the gold medal.

Following Monday morning’s practice, Okafor sat down to update Blue Devil Nation on his experiences with the U.S. U-19 National Team and with where things stand in his recruitment.

Question: We’ll start with the U.S. U-19 team experience. You are one of the youngest guys in the gym here. How has playing up help enhanced your game this week?

Answer: “It’s been great. You know I have improved so much this week going against these top college players. The coaches in Billy Donavan and Shaka Smart are really helping me develop. I have improved a lot over these last four or five days.”

Q: Who are some of the tougher matchups you faced one-on-one here at the training camp?

A: “All these big men are tough. Jarnell Stokes [of Tenneessee], [Mike] Tobey [of Virginia], Montrezel Harrrell [of Louisville]. You know everybody here is tough. They are really strong, but it’s a lot of fun. And it’s very competitive.”

Q: Have you learned anything new about your game having gone up against these more mature players this week?

A: “Just that I play better when I play with other great players. It helps me elevate my game. So the better the players are around me, the better I play.”

Q: Looks like you have lost a little bit of weight since I last saw you in Hampton, Va?

A: “Yeah, I have lost a little.”

Q: How has that helped benefit your game especially since it appears that this U-19 team will use a fast-paced, full-court pressure style of play as much as possible? And is that style a little bit different that what you are accustomed to in high school?

A: “Yeah, definitely. I like it. It’s something new. My AAU team, we get up and down. I have been getting in shape to get ready for this experience, so it’s a lot of fun.”

Q: And what is your official height and weight at nowadays?

A: “I’m 6-foot-11, 270 [pounds].”

Q: I understand that you have been rooming with Justise Winslow and Rasheed Sulaimon. What has that experience been like with those guys?

A: “It’s fun. We just talk a lot, crack jokes. It’s a lot of fun.”

Q: Is ‘Sheed doing any recruiting?

A: “No. ‘Sheed doesn’t do that. He pretty much knows that he can’t really affect our decisions. We’ll ask him questions about Duke, and he’ll answer them. But he doesn’t try to recruit us. If we ever have any questions, he’ll always give us a truthful answer.”

Q: Do you know who you’ll be rooming with going forward on this U.S. team?

A: “I’m not sure at this point. They decide our roommates.”

Q: You’ve had an ankle injury that has sidelined you for a good amount of this spring. How is your ankle doing right now?

A: “It’s doing pretty good. I missed a lot of the Nike EYBL sessions just because it was a high ankle sprain, but it’s doing really good now. I have a lot of great trainers here who are really helping me with it and getting it stronger.”

Q: After this stint with the U-19 team is over with, what are your basketball plans the rest of the summer?

A: “Win Peach Jam. I’m very confident that we can, so after we win a gold medal with this U.S.A. team I want to win the Peach Jam.”

Q: Let’s get to your recruitment. Baylor is one school that is scheduled to receive an official visit from both you and Tyus Jones. What all went behind choosing Baylor as a school that gets one of those five official visits?

A: “I just really like Baylor and what they have to offer. Coach Drew is a very energetic coach and I really like that. Baylor is a Christian school, so you that’s what my family loves so much about it. And the campus is just amazing. I’ve seen pictures and they’ve sent me a little video. I just want to experience Baylor and see what it is like.”

Q: So, have you ever visited Baylor before?

A: “No, I haven’t. Tyus has visited there before, and he just told me that we should definitely go see it because he thought it was really great.”

Q: And does Tyus have a cousin or some sort of relative that is connected to Baylor in some way?

A: “His cousin [Jared Nuness] is a [basketball] coach at Baylor.”

Q: Do you have any other official visits set up? Or do you have any idea as to what other schools you want to take official visits to?

A: “Not really, no. I have been busy and haven’t been able to set any more up yet.”

Q: What sort of criteria will you use to decide which schools get those last four official visits?

A: “I haven’t been able to really focus on that a whole lot on it lately, but it’ll probably be a combination of things: the coaching staffs I’m most comfortable with, seeing what Tyus and my parents are thinking, things like that. We’ll see.”

Q: What’s the communication between you and coaches been like these past several weeks? Has it been pretty busy with coaches blowing up your phone?

A: “It’s been pretty busy. Some more than others I guess. I hear from the coaches about the same as far as frequency. I’ve talked to Coach Capel. Coach K was here [in Colorado Springs] and he spoke with me a lot—not about Duke—just about improving out here and what I should do to get better. I’ve talked to Kansas, Kentucky, Baylor, Michigan State, Ohio State and Arizona here lately too.”

Q: What has Duke and Coach Capel been communicating to you about here lately?

A: “Just seeing how I’m doing, catching up. He was telling me that Coach K told him that I was playing well here. [Capel] was just telling me to keep it up, keep working, keep improving, and don’t have an attitude out here that I’m a young guy. Act just like I’m another player out here.”

Q: Kansas just hired Jerrance Howard, who obviously has a lot of ties to the state of Illinois. Do you have any sort of relationship with him? And if so, how does that affect your recruitment?

A: “You know it doesn’t hurt having him over there. You know he was one of the first coaches to recruit me. When he was at Illinois he offered me a scholarship. I’ve known him since like eighth grade, freshman year. I’m really close with Jerrance and him at Kansas doesn’t hurt at all. I’m happy that he’s there.”

Q: And why wasn’t Tyus able to participate in this Team U.S.A. function?

A: “He had some family issues going on, so he couldn’t make it.”

Q: Are you and Tyus any closer to determining a timetable for a college announcement?

A: “No, we aren’t really.” [/private]