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]