Tag Archives: Carolina Challenge

Tyrone Outlaw gets a call from Duke “It’s like a dream come true”


Tyrone Outlaw - Photo-Person County Life

There is a young prospect in the class of 2013 by the name of Tyrone Outlaw and he resides about a 27 minute drive north of Cameron Indoor Stadium in a small southern town named Roxboro, North Carolina.  Last season the 6-5 wing led Roxboro Person High deep into the state playoffs,  "We went to the 3rd round of the state playoffs and that's unheard of around Person," Outlaw said with a glint in his eyes.

Outlaw participated in the Carolina Challenge event on Saturday where he averaged 9.7 ppg against the best players in the state of North Carolina.  Outlaw told BDN that he was concentrating more on his overall game than his scoring at the event where players play about half of each game for their respective teams.

His Coach at Person, Charles Davis t0ld BDN that Outlaw would [private] be the focal point of this seasons team and last years success brough pride to the school and community.  "He takes academics seriously and has a 3.4 GPA," stated Davis 

During the summer AAU season, Outlaw will lace them up for Garner Road who most recently produced T.J. Warren who will be at N.C. State next season.  When asked if he had a dream school growing up, Outlaw offered up N.C. State, where his father was to attend but fell short on his SAT's.  His Godfather James Barnett played football for the Wolfpack.

But it was another Triangle school that had Outlaw excited, that being Duke. "It's like a dream come true. I was in a workout and my coach called me and told me about a message on the phone which made me smile. It was Coach Capel. They've just recently called and want me to come over for a workout," said Outlaw.

The Blue Devils will have Outlaw in for an unofficial visit which is easy due to his proximity to campus.  When asked which current Blue Devil he could relate to, Outlaw pointed to a picture of  Ryan Kelly, a Carolina Challenge alum, who actually played his high school ball in the gym where the event took place, Ravenscroft

Outlaw was clearly happy that Duke was evaluating him and it remains to be seen if he will become a focal point for the program which currently has a lot of irons in the fire in recruiting.  Outlaw who played center when he was younger and power forward is still adjusting to the perimeter.

When asked what he needed to work on most, Outlaw said without hesitation, "Defense. I'm a great defensive player but you can never stop working on defense," as if the statement was scripted to impress a certain Hall of Fame Coach.

Murray State called Outlaw this past week but it is Wake Forest that has it's foot firmly in the door.  "They've talked to me and want me to play the two or three guard or a wing player. They want me to work on the little things, like screens, boxing out and keep my grades and character up. I am close with Coach Battle and he tells me what he wants from me and how it will be to be a Wake Forest Demon Deacon."

Some consider Outlaw a bit of a secret, but schools will start to come in when they learn of his off season improvement, "I've improved a lot on my dribbling and on ball defense and moving but offensively I need to get better jab stepping and pump faking.   I can knock down shots when I'm taking them but in a setting like this? I'm just worried about proving I can do all the other things."

Outlaw likes the local or ACC schools and made it clear he didn't want to stray too far from the state.  And with his fathers history of falling just short of college he seems to be fighting off those who may compare him. "My coaches and my mom Keep me straight.  She keeps me grounded and if it was up to her she would want me to go to Harvard, Outlaw said in a light moment.

Murray State and Wake Forest have promised to offer if his SAT scores line up according to Outlaw and considering he is currently in his schools honor society he stands a good chance of all coming out well.

"I want to go to a school, stay their four years and take that degree I earned and get a job if I can't go to the NBA.  Also, I want a chance to win a championship." [/private]


Duke prospect Theo Pinson continues to improve

Theo Pinson is on the Duke radar.

Swoosh!  That was the sound of the nets heard during the Carolina Challenge as Theo Pinson showed off his three point range knocking down three straight in the first game.  And that was a good sign for many analyst have questioned Pinson and his outside shot.  But Pinson is more than that and it was clear by the end of the Challenge that he was clearly in the top tier of players, many feeling he was the best prospect at the event.  No matter how you cut it, he would have made the all tournament team had one been named.  BDN caught up to Pinson and we first share this video interview with members and will later follow up with another interview and have experts break down his game.  Our Carolina Challenge coverage is just getting started, so enjoy this video and check back in for much more. [private]

More to come .... [/private]

Al Freeman says Duke has showed interest but Kansas and Villanova are his leaders


Al Freeman - BDN Photo

The Duke Basketball program puts out a lot of feelers and they are currently evaluating a lot of players.  Al Freeman (6-4 SG, Olympic HS in Charlotte, N.C.) is one of the highest rated guards in the class of 2013 and he said his coach recently heard from Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins, UCLA and  Ohio State.  He recently trimmed his list to Kansas and Villanova but said he would still entertaina  school that is the right fit.  Freeman scored but a single point in his opening game which caused one veteran analyst to say he was the most disappointing player he viewed in the morning session, but he bounced back with 19 in the next game and averaged 9.0 during the Carolina Challenge event which features the top players in the state of North Carolina.  BDN Premium caught up with Freeman and got his thoughts on the process.

How are you liking the camp thus far?

I love this camp, it's my third year here.  I got here a little late but just went right in and played in the first game.

If somebody had yet to see you play, how would you describe your game to them if asked?

A big combo guard who looks for his shots as well as teammates and loves to win.

Do you pattern your game or try to emulate [private] anybody on the court?

Deron Williams

What is going on with you and the recruiting process or where do you stand at this time?

I cut it down to Villanova and Kansas.

Is that the only two schools that have come in or that you have settled on?

Ohio State and UCLA jumped in and Duke is starting to show interest.  Collins expressed interest to my AAU coach.

Do you have any interest in Duke?

Yeah, I have interest in Duke.

Villanova develops players and their guards specifically, they have a great coaching staff that really cares about their players.  The same goes from Kansas and they get guys to buy into what they do.

What are you looking for in a program?

Just a program that allows their guards to be guards.  I don't want to go to a program that makes you a one or two guard.

So are you willing to let other schools in?

Uhm, only if it's the right fit.

With a program coming in a little late like say Duke, does that have a negative effect?

Naw, everybody has their way of recruiting, each school handles it differently.

Will you take all of your allotted official visits?

I don't know yet, it's hard to say.

Is their a timeline for a decision?

No, not really.

Thanks for your time and good luck with the process.

My take - Duke is in with a lot of shooting guards and may feel a late push for Freeman is more time consuming than it is worth.  While he is truly a good prospect, everybody felt he was overrated nationally with concern to guru types except those who gave him such a lofty ranking.  He's a strong guard who plays aggressive defense and he's not a great athlete but a pretty good one.  He got past defenders at this level but made a myriad of mistakes in his first outing be it a 5 second count, bad passes or turnover.  However, he bounced back nicely in his second outing where his shot dropped and that energized him a bit.  He needs better shot selection and he is IMO a borderline Top 25 player.  I would be surprised if Duke elects to pursue him with current events but wanted to get to know him as a prospect.   More to come. [/private]


North Carolina’s top prospects will gather at the Carolina Challenge

Mason Plumlee was just one of many talented players at last Carolina Challenge - BDN Photo
Mason Plumlee was just one of many talented players at last Carolina Challenge - BDN Photo

If you want to see some of the best young basketball players in the state of North Carolina, then you will want to check out the Carolina Challenge this Saturday.  The event takes place in Cary and you can find a complete list of players and directions to the event in this Carolina Challenge Link.

"The goal was to blend basketball with talking to kids about academics and life skills and packaging it all into one day," said Dave Telep who created the event which is in its third year of existence.

Telep is a respected analyst and scout, who is the head of basketball recruiting at Scout.com.  He has now been a resident in the state for eleven years and has settled into the Triangle area.  Telep's wife is from North Carolina and, as always, will be there to help out come Saturday.

"My original vision of the challenge was to get the most recruitable kids in our state together in one place and bonk them over the head with academics," said Telep who has been known to take a vested interest in the prospects he follows.

It's rare that an event takes the time to make a prospect realize how important academics are and to give some of them the opportunity to better their skills in the classroom and on the court.

Last year's event featured John Wall, Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee and many others who are now household names to the many that follow AAU Basketball and recruiting.  This year's event will be no different and those who attend will want to pay close attention to the kids in the class of 2011, many of whom are already rated in early national top 100 lists.

"Devince Boykins (Class of 2011) from Rutherford played football and basketball and will now concentrate on basketball and by 6:00 Saturday, I'll bet our whole state knows about him," stated Telep.  He continued, "The kids in our state are starting to take some ownership in the event.  A number of guys who played in past challenges will come back and act as mentors."

Other camp attendees will be UNC-bound Reggie Bullock of Rocky Mount and names like P.J. Hairston and C.J. Leslie, to name a few.

Each player will participate in three games in just one day where they will be matched up against the best of the best.  The event has been an eye-opener for some prospects in the past and this year should be no different. "

In my travels over the last few years, I've learned a thing or two about what the college coaches are looking for," said Telep.  He will share that knowledge in an effort to help these young prospects reach their full potential both on and off the court.

Telep closed our conversation by saying, "I think the event is really unique.  I'm not sure there is another state in the country during the spring or any time, that the top talent in the state are gathered under one roof to play in a setting  like the Carolina Challenge.  There are a lot of things I do with basketball that are a lot of fun, but there won't be another day like this Saturday where I will have more fun."

Be sure to check out the event if you are in the area, for you will see a lot of future talent on display.  Telep is giving back to North Carolina and it would be nice if the community turns out to support the event.  The games tip off at 9:00.  Did I mention that admission is "FREE?"  See you there!