One of the top players out of the state of Pennsylvania, Amile Jefferson has many schools trying to gain his services. The forward had a great summer AAU season in which he impressed almost everyone who came out to watch him. During the AAU season, Amile also played alongside Duke recruit Savon Goodman. The two have built quite the chemistry playing together. BDN got a chance to speak with Amile and discuss his summer, recruiting as well as his interest in Duke.
First off could I get your current height and weight?
Sure, I’m about 6’8, 185-190lbs.
You had a busy AAU season. Can you tell us how your summer went?
I think my summer went well. I played on a really good team this summer, Team Philly. We did very well I thought. We played great as a unit and we played up and did a lot of damage and we won a lot. We went out to Vegas and we won that and I thought it was big, how we played as a team. I thought I did well leading our team and being the leader, keeping the guys [private] on and playing hard.
Did you enjoy your time in Vegas?
Oh yeah, definitely. It’s a little hot at times but I enjoyed it!
Definitely some big time heat. Earlier this summer you played at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. Did you get a chance to check out any of the schools or their facilities?
We actually played in Cameron, and you know that was about it. I didn’t check out either of the schools down there.
Can you give a current list of schools that are recruiting you right now?
Sure. Villanova, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Florida State, Georgetown, Duke, Stanford, most of the Philly schools have been in contact a lot.
Do you have any sort of timetable for making a decision?
I’m not sure as of right now. As of now I haven’t been on one unofficial visit outside of Philadelphia. I’ve talked to coaches starting in June when they could call, but as of right now I have no idea where I want to be.
So you had an open gym yesterday I believe? Is that correct?
Yeah, we were supposed to, I believe, but we didn’t. Yesterday was actually my first day of school, and we didn’t. But assistant coach Nate James did stop by and I did get a chance to see him briefly, but we didn’t have the open gym.
Have you spoken with any of the Duke coaches?
Well I went to Duke's camp back in freshman year, so I got to talk with most of them there. And James has called me as well.
Now when you eventually do make your college decision, who will you look to to help with that decision?
I’ll definitely look to my family. Especially my father, he’s been on the AAU circuit with me since the beginning. Everywhere I’ve been, he’s been. Definitely my head AAU coach, he’s given me a lot of advice and I’ve been playing with him since I’ve been about 10, so I definitely will look to those two. Lonnie Lowry, he runs our AAU squad basically, so I’ll look to him.
Just one last question now, do you have any visits planned for the upcoming college basketball season?
I’m hoping to get to a lot of stuff this fall. I’m hoping to get to Duke. Countdown to Craziness I believe it is?
Yeah, that’s what it’s called.
Yeah, I’m hoping to get down there to start to get a feel of schools so I can start to think of where I want to be. So, hopefully this fall will be a busy one, and hopefully I’ll be able to get out and see some schools.
Alright, thanks a lot Amile, appreciate your time.
Yeah, no problem.
Watzone's take - Duke is still following the progress of Jefferson who brings some very attractive skills to the table and is a solid character kid. The hold up could be his size where he needs to put on some muscle and show interest or take to the weight room.[/private]
Standing at 6'8" Amile Jefferson, a rising junior forward from Philadelphia has enjoyed a quality AAU season, winning the inaugural Fab 48 Tournament in Las Vegas while developing his perimeter skills over the past few months. The Friends Central star updated Blue Devil Nation on the latest with his game and recruitment as well as his relationships with Team Philly teammate Savon Goodman and Duke recruit Shabazz Muhammad.
How do you feel you've been playing this AAU season?
I think we've been playing pretty well as a team. We have a great team this year. We've got a nice mix of great shooters and great athleticism, with guys like Savon Goodman. I'm on a good team and I just want to keep pushing us to win as a group.
Do you feel guys can win this one?You've got a nice team and a great one-two punch for your level in you and Savon.
I think it's attainable. Yes, for us to win this, it's going to take us going to bed on time. Discipline. Yes, discipline. It's going to be all about discipline. You know we're in Las Vegas and there are plenty of distractions available to us if we allow ourselves to get caught up in that, but we have to concentrate on why we're here. You know we lost our head coach this week.
Yeah, I noticed. What happened?
Well, that was a tough loss for us, but, unfortunately, he wasn't able to[private] make it out here for us. He had some personal problems that he had to take care of and I think I'll leave it at that.
Sure, sure. Well, hopefully, he'll be able to solve whatever problems are currently going on in his life.
Yes, hopefully, but it's important that we focus on the task at hand and just come out and play hard in every game we have left for the rest of the summer. I think if we do come and play hard, we'll be in a very good position to be able to keep winning games together.
In terms of you personally, how do you think you've grown, since we last spoke, which was, I believe, in early May or late April in Indiana? It looks like your pipes have grown at least a tiny bit or at least you're not covering them with the white t-shirts.
(laughs) Well, hopefully, they've grown. I'm not really concentrating on my conditioning as much as I am my ball-handling and perimeter shooting. That's been my thing that I've spent the most down time on.
Trying to develop into more of a three than a four?
Yes, I'm trying to develop into more of a three than a four. I've been working on my shot and I've got to be able to handle the ball and, you know, right now, I'm feeling much more comfortable handling the ball.
Now, have you tried to consciously work on different positions or your versatility when you're switching between the Team Philly Sixteens and Seventeens?
Mostly, as you know, when I'm playing with the sixteens, I'm working on my versatility and playing more of a versatile game. I'm working on my dribbling and..
You're a little more creative I've got to say.
Yeah, a little more creative definitely with the Sixteens. On the seventeens, I've got to do what I can. If it's blocking shots, defending various guys, just rebounding, I've got to do it.
You're more of a role player for the Seventeens, helping out in whatever way the coach needs you to do for a particular game.
Yes, absolutely, more of a role player on that team. People are always interested in recruiting.
Which schools do you feel are recruiting you most aggressively or hardest right now?
Right now, I feel that I'm wide open. I feel like I've got plenty of time to think about that decision, but right now I've got schools like Villanova, Georgetown, Stanford, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Syracuse, Ohio State, Butler, and Texas. So, you know, we have some good options right now and hopefully in the future.
Forgive me, but are all of those offers or a mix of offers and interest?
Yes, a mix.
Now have you taken any visits recently or do you have any planned?
I haven't taken any visits this summer, but I've been to Syracuse's camp. I went up to Georgetown. I've been to Nova's Midnight Madness and also went to Duke's Camp.
Do you have any planned visits coming up?
I'm hoping that in late August and early September I can check out some schools. So, hopefully, that works out.
Do you still really view this as pretty early in the overall process for you?
Oh, yes, definitely
How do you like playing with Savon (Goodman)?
He brings a mix of power and athleticism. Yes, he's very athletic. When I drive and they double, it helps to have someone like him who can just finish. He throws them down so violently that it takes a toll..
(laughs) Yeah, exactly, psychologically, it takes a toll on them. You see guys just, sort of, throw in the towel after a few of them. They just get out of the way or go through the motions and kind of concede the game after a while.
You guys can both play the wing on this team. Even though this isn't exactly structured, did you guys immediately mesh or did it take some time to work on spacing, which sides you're more comfortable playing on, who was going to play inside, etcetera?
Definitely not, because I love to pass the ball and we can play all sorts of ways. We can go high-low if we're on the same side. We run screen-and-rolls a lot. I feel like I can hit the mid-range off of them.
He's a little bit shorter than you, but very strong, which allows him to play inside and really compete against guys that are several inches taller.
Yeah, he's very strong and he can go in there against guys that are much bigger.
We talked about it before, but are you owing to transfer to a new school?
No, that was just a rumor (laughs).
Yeah, a rumor. Well, we'll leave it at that. Of all the tournaments or events that you've been at, which one has been your favorite?
So far, Indiana.
Oh, the one we talked at.
Yeah, I had fun in Indiana. Oh, and West Virginia. I thought we played great there as a unit, especially at the end. Last week.
How do you feel you played there?
Yeah, last week. I thought I played okay. (laughs) Alright, I thought I played well. We made it to the Final Four, but we lost on a buzzer-beater.
Oh, you heard about it. (laughs)
Of all the different guys that you've had to guard this year, who's been the hardest to check?
I'm not sure how to pronounce his name, but it's like Cha Chane Behanan?
Yeah, exactly, he was really hard to put a body on.
Yeah, he caused a lot of problems when we played him in Pittsburgh.
He's kind of similar in build to Savon. Except a couple of inches taller.
Yeah, he is and very strong and athletic.
Speaking of Savon, why don't you give the audience a quick scouting report on him?
Savon is a great, athletic player. He rebounds the ball very well for his size- because of his strength and complements me very well. Defensively, he's a difference-maker and makes the game easier for me because I don't have to guard the other team's toughest matchup.
Have you guys talked about playing in college together or is it more of a matter of "If it happens, it happens?"
Not really because we're both pretty much wide open. We have talked about it, but, right now, we're just enjoying high school.
Absolutely, enjoy these times. I was just curious. Who are some other guys that you're tight with on a national level?
Sure, I'm friends with a lot of the guys on the Adidas Nations teams. Of those guys, I'm closest with Shabazz Muhammad.
Oh, he's a very nice kid to deal with.
Yeah, he's very, very nice.
Also driven and just a tremendous natural scorer.
Absolutely, tremendously talented.
I can see why you two would hit it off. He's similar to you, in terms of being a cool, likable guy to deal with off the court, but oozing with talent on it.
(laughs) Yeah, hopefully. The other guy I'm close with D'Vauntes (Smith-Rivera). He's really good.
Yeah, it was a shame he got hurt so early in the summer.
Yeah, I hope he can get back to the way he was, but that's why I like their events so much because it's not just a collection of players.
They've really collected a lot of talented players, who are also good guys that are easy to hang out with off of the court. I didn't know if Adidas and Mats (Adidas Nations Director Darren "Mats" Matsubara) would be successful, but they've really pulled it off.
Yeah, they have and it's been fun to be a part of.
Now, has Duke contacted you recently?
If they have, they would've talked to my father. He's actually right over there,
Oh, that's your father.
(laughs)Yeah, he's had to coach us since our regular coach wasn't able to make it. He handles almost all of my recruiting.
I hadn't seen him at some of the other events. That's cool that he was able to make this one for you. I think you have a really good shot at winning it. You've got a few inches on your dad now. Of course, I'm jealous of both of you.
(laughs) Yeah, yeah, but it's not always an advantage.
I'd take my chances. Lastly, what would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?
That I'm a cool kid, who's easy to hang out with and doesn't do anything bad off of it. I just play basketball and go to school. Nothing too much right now, but, right now, that's my life.
CHARLOTTESVILLE - BDN continues to churn out interviews with the nations top prospects who talk of their experiences during the NBAPA Top 100 Camp which was held in Charlottesville on the Virginia campus this past weekend. Already posted are Q & A's with Tyler Adams and Marshall Plumlee and there is much more to come.
What is it like to be invited to and play in the NBAPA Top 100 camp?
It's definitely an honor to be here with all these great players and talent around. An not only that, but the coaches around here make you want to sponge in as much as you can in the time that I'm here.
Who are the schools that have offered thus far?
Penn State, Villanova,Temple, Stanford, West Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgetown and LaSalle have been in contact a lot and the last few day I got to speak with most of them personally, talking to the coaches and hearing about their programs.
Did you have a dream school growing up or one which you would love to go to?
No, I don't, I don't. I just want to be at a school where I fit in and a school that wants to win not just one year but every year so right now I'm kind of wide open.
Did any of the ACC schools contact you after the Tournament of Champions event in North Carolina?
Yes. I believe UNC contacted my high school coach on the days that they could call. Schools like that are prestigious you know and the top programs and to be at one of those schools like Duke or Carolina would be an honor.
What do you want to work on with concerns to your game?
Definitely ball handling and shooting. These guys who've played professional ball have a few tricks up their sleeve and can get open, not only with strong moves but being quicker. So they're showing us not only how to move but how to swipe through with floppy cuts and just to learn those little tricks and work on them until I can do it as good as they can.
You knocked down two three point shots in the last game. Is that something you've worked on.
It's definitely a work in progress but it's coming along and it's getting better and that's what I wanted to see. I kind of want to shy away from the three point line and hit the mid range jump shot because I feel they are more effective. And after you hit a few of those, you can get into the lane more and draw some fouls.
What do you hope to accomplish during the coming high school season?
My goal next year is to be a leader and my coach wants me to be a captain of the team next year and that is something I take pride in. Next year I want to be a leader and want to win.
What areas of your game need the most improvement?
Definitely dribbling and or ball handling and strength. I'm not all that big so I wan to get stronger and get my body where it needs to be. I plan on getting my legs stronger and everything for that matter, so that I can be even more athletic.
When did you first know that basketball was for you?
I first learned I loved the game of basketball when playing for my AAU coach Cedric Jones, a great guy. He spends his money to get us at tournaments and for someone who spends their money just to get kids out of the city, well that means a lot. Those guys that I started out playing with in the fifth grade are my friends to this day and I'm blessed for that. When I first started AAU ball that when I knew it was something I loved and that basketball was something I wanted to get better at. I know I'm not there yet, but I have a lot of work to do and I will put in the work to get there. [/private]
CHARLOTTESVILLE - One of the coaches and mentors at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp is former Blue Devil Chris Duhon. We chatted with Duhon and you'll hear what he had to say early next week. If you think he was taking it easy on the kids in drills think again. He stuffed one camper as he went up for a jump shot to challenge the free agent.
Soon to be Blue Devil Tyler Adams again challenged all comers on the glass, grabbing 10 rebounds in one of the days games. Adams was sporting a wrist support by tonight's game and he told BDN he sprained the wrist during the morning session. The injury happened earlier this AAU season. Adams intimidated [private] a couple of players into turnovers, but he needs work on his help defense. One thing I loved was that it was Adams, the man in the middle talking to his teammates directing them to men on the defensive end. In short, he knew where to be on the court. Bottom line is that the Celtics only consistent player is Adams who went for 11 and 15 points on Friday.
Will the real Rodney Hood please stand up! If you are a member of BDN Premium you may remember that Duke was once looking at the Mississippi native. Hood seemingly regressed dropping in the rankings, but if his play during the NBAPA Camp is something he can repeat on a regular basis, then he is back and once again moving up in the rankings. Hood told BDN that his list of schools were firm at around nine, but he said if the right team came in he'd open the door. For what it's worth, Hood's dream school growing up was, you got it, Duke.
We checked out Rodney Purvis and secured an interview and I must say the 2013 prospect is as advertised.
And then there is Deuce Bello. Wow! This guy is good. The first year I saw him he was but an athlete but he is know turning into a smarter basketball player that has a really solid handle and blow by speed. Easily one of the tournaments best and most consistent players. Bello is averaging 12.0 ppg.
A big guy that was calling for the ball today was named Marshall Plumlee. The Duke prospect was more aggressive today and he once again drew several fouls. Unlike last evening, he nailed his free throws today. As we noted Plumlee will visit Virginia after the event where he will meet with Coach Bennett. However, a good meeting took place with Coach K and Wojo recently and considering his brothers are at Duke, I kind of think he will opt that way in due time. Plumlees scoring numbers from today were 6 and 2.
After a great start in the event, Amile Jefferson's game tailed off significantly on the offense in the early game
Man was I happy to see J.P. Tokoto get a few points in. Tokoto started the game with two air balls and they were some kind of ugly ten to fifteen foot shots. He finally got an easy one and then nailed one from the outside. That means he is averaging a whopping 1.0 ppg good for 103rd in scoring. He's a good player for sure but needs serious work on the offensive end of the court, especially with his outside game. I really think he needs to play for his AAU teams 17 U team to get better. Despite the rumors of a Carolina lean which may be true for him, his stepfather will not let him rush into a decision and this one will go on for a bit.
Then there is Kaleb Tarczewskiwho seems warm when talking of Duke. Coach K gave him a call not long ago and Chris Collins started the ball rolling. This 2012 kid is going to be a good center in college and he is not afraid to mix it up. He blocked Cody Zellers shot so hard that he hit the floor. He threw down two moster slams as well, but Zeller had his best game of the tournament scoring 20. It was Tarczewski's teams first loss.
Then there was Michael Gbinije, the silent assassin who tossed in 16 and 15 points making him the camps 6th leading scorer. [/private]
FORT WAYNE, Indiana - Amile Jefferson is a nearly 6'8" sophomore forward from the Philadelphia area. This past season he scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in leading Friends Central to the Independent Schools State Title over Germantown Academy, 72-52. He was the only sophomore named to the first-team All-State team for the AA Class. At this past weekend's Speice Run 'N Slam All-Star Classic in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Jefferson opted to compete with the oldest age group and performed quite well for his Team Philly AAU program. After the initial game, Amile spoke with Blue Devil Nation about his state title, the latest in his recruitment, his impression of Duke and Coach Krzyzewski from his time spent at their Elite Camp, small forwards in the 2012 class, and the best cheese steak in Philadelphia.
Why don't we start with the championship game against Germantown? Talk about the win and also your performance. You obviously had a great game. Given the context, was it your best game to date?
(laughs) Yeah, it was a really good game, but, no, it wasn't my best. It was definitely a big win and I was happy we got that for our seniors. We had a great group of seniors and for those guys to leave on such a high note, instead of a loss, was such a big thing. Then, you know, for our last game, to be able to play at such a high level, it was definitely up there.
And they are always competitive.
Yeah, GA is always very good. So it was great to be able to beat them in the championship.
When I watched you in December in the Bronx, you were essentially the third or fourth option on offense. What happened between late December and March? Did they recognize that they needed to utilize you more or did you step up your game?
Well, I think I needed to establish more of a dominant role on the team for us [private] to be successful. By the end of the year, I think I, kind of, was starting to take off and not taking a back seat to anyone. We all needed to support one another and be able to step up if one of us wasn't playing well.
It was obviously a senior-laden team and one with several guys who are going to play at the D-One level. What do you feel you learned from the upperclassmen?
I picked up a lot. Guys like Terry Robinson...he's an absolute gym rat. Dominic Morris..
Yeah, he's huge and he always wants to get better. He wanted to work on his jump shot and make it consistent this season. I think I mostly learned about the need to consistently put in work to improve and not get satisfied.
Now, the word or, well, rumor is that you may be looking to transfer after this season. Do you want to comment on the record on the rumor?
(laughs) Well, let's just say that, right now, it's just a rumor.
Alright, well, let's move onto recruiting. What's the latest in your recruitment?
I'm wide open, but I have been looking at schools. After this school year is over, I'm going to sit down and look at the different schools that are recruiting me.
Do you have any hard offers at this point? If so, which schools?
West Virginia's offered, Penn State has offered, Wake Forest, Temple, and some others at this point.
Well, you're still a sophomore. I'm sure there are a lot of others that have expressed interest.
Now, you're around 6'8," but athletic. Do you prefer to play the three or the four? What are most schools recruiting you as?
Well, I like to play whatever my team needs. If the defender is really small, I like to take my man on the block. If it's a big guy or someone who's about my height, I'd like to take him on the wing. I guess I really like to play the three because it gives you more of an option of being able to play either out on the wing or down on the block.
Where do you like to catch the ball?
I like to catch it right outside of the paint or..
I thought you liked to catch it right outside of the paint, near the baseline.
Oh, that baseline area is like my favorite. You've got a lot of room to operate and you can still hit that mid-range jumper
You hit a few floaters over your man on the baseline tonight. Is that your go-to move at this point?
Yeah, it probably is.
I was wondering before if anyone is recruiting you as a step-out four. How tall are you now?
And how much do you weight now?
Somewhere between 185 and 190.
Have you taken any visits yet? Do you have any planned?
No, I haven't taken any formal visits yet, but I did visit Duke's campus last summer. That one was great, but short. I don't have planned right now, though.
Alright. I'd like to get back to that in a moment, but how do you compare yourself to other threes in the class? Although there are a couple of quality bigs, the wings, particularly the depth of the wings, really stand out in your class.
We've got a very deep class of threes. I think we can all bring a little something different to the table. I just try to keep getting better and not worry about how I necessarily compare myself to the others, but I'm definitely aware of some the others.
Do you know where you'll be going to camp this year? NBA? LeBron?
Well, I just went to Adidas Nations in Florida a couple of weeks ago.
Right, I heard about you heading down to Orlando.
Yeah, exactly, that was fun. I'm not sure of exactly where I'll be heading, but I know I'm going to be very busy this summer. (laughs)
Yeah, sure, now I know your father comes up quite a bit. Will he be the primary person that you will be turning to for guidance, whenever you do decide on a college?
Yes, he and my AAU coach, Cedric Jones. Those will be the two guys that I'll be turning to for guidance. They both have my interests at heart.
Well, when I saw him wearing that Nova shirt on the sidelines, I didn't know if that was a signal. I thought that maybe he was gonna kill my article and also what the hell am I doing in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
(Laughs hard) No, don't worry about that.
Now, I know that, like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, your dad is from West Philadelphia and went to West Philly high school. How did he feel about you going to Friends?
Oh, well, we went to Friends because they have great academics and it was only a blessing that they were able to get some of those seniors like Dominic and Robinson. I went there for the quality academics and it only happened to become good at basketball. We didn't even know that those guys were coming. It's been great to be able to combine the benefits of great academics with now championship basketball.
Now, that hits on another topic I wanted to get your take on. Clearly, you've been able to fuse quality academics and basketball on the high school level. Will that be what you're looking for at the college level? What are some other things that you'll be looking for?
I'm really going to be looking for very similar things. I like getting the best of both worlds, but we really haven't even begun to discuss recruiting or what exactly I'll be looking for. I've been trying to hold off on making any decisions on my recruitment.
I wasn't trying put you on the spot. As you know, it's just relatively unusual that an excellent basketball player goes to a strong, academically challenging high school.
(laughs) No, I know. I know. No problem.
So that fans can check you out, do you know where your next AAU event is?
Um, probably either the Southern or
Where is that one now? Atlanta?
No, I think at the Boo Williams Complex. If not that one, then definitely the Bob Gibbons in late May.
Speaking of the Triangle area and going back to a prior answer, what was the Duke Elite Camp like last summer? You're obviously on their radar. Talk a little bit about your experience down there.
Well, I believe it was their first camp. I was really happy to be asked and loved the time that I had down there. I loved seeing the beautiful campus and where they get to play. We got to see a little of their new facilities, but I think we only played on where they get to play.
What was your impression of the school?
Well, I didn't really get to see much of the school because we had such a short time there, but I did get to see a lot of the basketball facilities and stuff like that. I was really only there for about a day, but I got to see their facilities and eat dinner with Coach K. We got to talk about the Olympic team. He was just a good guy. It was a real honor personally to be in his presence for any amount of time. The whole experience I considered to be just a blessing.
One guy from your area that I was hoping to see with you was Savon Goodman. Are you guys looking to go to college together? Have you talked about it at all?
Right now, we play in the same league. We sometimes play with each other in the Sixteens, but, most of the time, we don't. This weekend, I'm playing up with the Seventeens.
Speaking of that, how do you feel about playing up with the Seventeens? I'm not sure if you know Quinn Cook, but he's a point guard on DC Assault. He was saying that he noticed a major difference between the two and that the players were much more physically mature and faster. It's got to make you better long-term.
Yeah, absolutely, there is just such a difference between the two. Guys are so much stronger, wiser, and more physical. Everyone is athletic and so you have to adjust and be able to box out and use the talents that you already have to your advantage. You have to play hard at all times because everybody is just bigger and stronger.
What's your biggest weakness right now?
I'd say getting lift on my jump shot. I'd say right now it frankly works because I'm bigger than the guy guarding me, but, long-term, I want to work on adding more lift to my jumper.
And what's your biggest strength? What makes you most dangerous?
In the post, I've got a lot of moves and, at this point, I can take my man in a variety of directions. I can also take a bigger defender off the dribble from the wing.
Yeah, my versatility.
Away from the court, what would you like the audience to know about you?
I'd like them to know that I'm a good guy.
Do you watch a lot of college basketball?
Yeah, I do. I watch a lot definitely.
Lastly, Pat's or Geno's?
(Laughs hard) Steaks?
C'mon, I know it's always an important issue in Philly.
(laughs) I can't say.
Alright, I understand if it's too political.
(Jefferson laughs. His AAU coach, Cedric Jones, comes in and answers Ishkabibble's and says that Geno's is overrated) Alright, I'm going to go with Ishkabibble's. They're great.
I'll have to check it out. Thanks a lot, fellas, for sticking around and we'll be keeping an eye out for you.
One of the top players in the class of 2012 is Amile Jefferson of Philadelphia, PA, Friends Central High School. Jefferson stands 6-6 and weighs in around 190 pounds. Jefferson's versatility and upside has college coaches jockeying for position as he starts to take a serious look at the process. In a our conversation, Jefferson said he adheres to a constant work ethic in order to make his game better. He was happy with his teams high school season and ready to continue his hard work. Jefferson said he would once again play for Team Philly on the AAU circuit. At this time, Jefferson really doesn't have a true position but he played the power forward slot for his high school team. Jefferson is a bit of a tweener right now, but he is still growing and should fill out in the coming years. Despite what some consider to be a slight frame, Jefferson is not a kid who backs down and one analyst said he is lean but stronger than he looks.
Suppose somebody has yet to see you play. How would you describe your game?
I would probably describe my game as still coming along, but skillful and versatile. I play a lot with my back to the basket but I'm starting to face up. [private]
You are starting to climb in the rankings, how do you stay grounded with all of the hype?
You have to stay grounded and keep working or one day it'll be here and the next day it can be gone.
When will you get serious about your collegiate decision?
Most likely I will sit down this summer and think about the pro's and con's of different schools. We'll [his Dad] figure out who we want to concentrate on and get to know the schools and the coach.
You mentioned your Father earlier, is that who taught you most of your basketball skills?
Uh, in a way. I have been playing since I was about ten and I've also been playing for the same team that whole time. So a few people work with me and as it has gone along, I've gotten better. I've had a lot of great people helping me.
Do you pattern your game after any particular player?
No, not really. I just like to watch good basketball players and to learn the component's of their game and add it to my game. So, I like looking at the best point guard but at the same time good big men to learn different skills. I watch how guards come off screens ... you just look at the best and try to emulate their game.
How do you feel about where you are as a basketball player?
Versatility is really helping my game come together and it is an on going process. I still am not close to where I need to be as a player, so I will continue to put in the work and get better every day.
What kind of student are you in the class room?
I'm an A-B student. Education is important to me.
You attended some skill camps this past summer. I know Duke was one of the camps you attended. How did that go and did you attend other camps?
I had a great time at the camp and the few hours I was there, probably 48 hours, I learned a lot and I think the camp was a success and I had a great time. It was great competition and I would love to go back. Other camps, I went to Penn State's camp and Syracuse over the summer and they were both really good as well.
Has Duke remained in contact with you?
Yes, they've [coaches] have been up to see me play in open situations and occasionally call.
Any type of school that you like best?
At this point I am really still wide open. I have yet to figure out what kind of school I want to go to, let alone what conference. It's great to see that people are showing interest but it is still a bit early. Hopefully everything will work out for the best.
Being a Philly guy is there any added pressure to stay close to home?
No, not really. I'm not sure yet if I want to stay close to home or if I want to go miles away. Right now I'm just happy living in the moment.
Do you have a preference when it comes to style of play?
It's still a learning process for me and I am trying to learn what type of play or system best suits me. I like the up and down game but there are times when you have to be in half court sets, pressure the ball ... I'm just not sure right now.
What is Amile Jefferson like off the hardwood?
I like being with my friends, my basketball buddies. On and off the hardwood, I hang with my friends on the team. It's basketball and school for me.
As of right now, no.
Thanks for your time ...
Final Word - Jefferson is wide open but Duke should get a very serious look as will Syracuse. Several schools are interested, Virginia Tech is his latest offer. We had an awful phone connection which made it hard to get into a flow. which[/private]