Duke might be in the thick of March Madness, but that isn't stopping them from continuing their recruiting efforts. The Blue Devils made a rare reach for a JUCO player in Carrick Felix, but Felix isn't your garden type variety as you will see in this in-depth interview. Felix opens up to BDN in a way that allows us to know more about how life's trail has landed him in Durham. He talks about his relationship with Krzyzewski and how fate intervened when he got to know Duke Assistant Coach Nate James. In short, it's another interview from Blue Devil Nation Premium, our subscription service that offers the most timely and factual recruiting information available. So, join today and talk about the latest happening and what to expect next on our active members-only message board and go behind the scenes on all things Duke.
What are your thoughts on being a Duke Blue Devil?
It's been a long journey, a long road with many ups and downs but Coach K and Nate James saw me and liked me and now I get the opportunity to be a Duke Basketball player and a part of their family. I honestly worked for it. I really worked for it, I worked real hard for it. I'm excited and glad they're giving me the opportunity."
Tell me about the first time you met Coach K.
Well, it was Coach K so everybody is going to be kind of nervous and I was and didn't know what to say. But he's kind of like another person in my family. I felt like I could talk to him about anything from the start. We just clicked like we knew each other for years and I felt very, very comfortable around him and he did around me, so we really clicked.
I understand, Coach James played a big role in your recruitment. Can you talk a little bit about that?
(laughs) What happened is he came up here to see the seven footer Aziz Nidiaye. I actually met Coach Nate James a little before that in my coaches office. Coach James walks by me and I didn't know who he was at first [private] and then heard he was a Duke Assistant so I introduced myself. Then we get on the court and he's watching our center and I was just playing like I always play. I play hard and practice hard and later that night he gave me a call and was excited about the way I played basketball. Ever since then, he's followed me everyday and we've developed a wonderful, wonderful relationship. He's actually playing like the big brother role right now.
Not too many people have seen you play yet including myself. How would you describe your game?
My game is unique [said with emphasis]. I'm not like a lot of other players ... my best thing is my athleticism but I still kind of new to the game. I need to dribble and shoot better, but I can kind of do it all, just unique. You'll see that when you see me play, the way I run, the way I move the ball, it's not like anybody else.
Did the Duke Coaching Staff or Coach K talk of what your role might be on the team?
They're going to use me as a defender. On offense Coach K is excited and feels he can use me at any position because of my versatility. He's excited knowing he can use me a multiple positions and that's what they need, so I'm excited about that and look forward to being the best player I can be.
Who was in on your decision? Who did you turn to for help?
My family, my mom and they all said I deserved this and I worked my butt off. [said with emphasis] My family is proud of me and my coach is proud of me. So yeah, just family.
I understand that you're a solid student. Are academics important to you?
Academics mean a lot to me because my mom didn't even graduate from high school. But I continued to progress with my grades and my education because I wasn't the best student when I was younger. I didn't know what I wanted to be in life so I eventually sat down with my mom. We had a talk and identified what was important and academics is part of that.. I just want to do the best I can, just like I do on the court? I want to work that same way in the class room if not harder. I'm a student athlete first not an athlete-student.
Where did you grow up?
That's kind of hard to say because I've moved around. My Dad was military so we moved around a lot but if I were to name one place, probably Arizona because I played my high school ball there.
Have you been able to meet or bond with some of the players?
Yeah, yeah. When I first got there I was just talking to the coaches, but then I met the guys. I talked to Nolan, Kyle, Mason Plumlee and the older brother ... [pondering in brief silence]?
Anyway, I hung out with him some and all of them welcomed me with open arms. I really like that they made me feel comfortable. I mean, I felt real comfortable, like a family and that right there ... that was a big part of my decision. I've been sending texts back and forth with Seth Curry since I left and he's a pretty good guy and I think we can be really good friends. I got along with all the guys , so I'm excited.
You mentioned playing high school ball in Arizona. Wasn't Arizona Sate recruiting you? And who were some of the schools were taking a look at you?
ASU, West Virginia, Clemson, Virginia, Maryland came in ... USC called, Miami, Utah State, Washington, Washington State, a lot of schools.
I'm hearing you'll be on campus on short time .. commitment
Yes, I'm looking into being there around May 18th getting my body ready for ACC Basketball. It's going to be a big jump for me but I feel confident. Some of the other players will be there and then they all come in sometime in June.
I bet you're pretty tired ...
Aw man ... I was up at 4:30 to get to the airport and with all the excitement I forgot the time had changed, so it was really 3:30 [laughs] so didn't get into to Durham until 9:00. Then I left Durham for Dallas around 9:00 today and arrived at 1:00 then to Salt Lake. I fell asleep and woke up in Salt Lake and it was 1:00 there as well, so yeah, I'm pretty tired.
Closing statement ...
It's been along journey for me and I'm happy. I'm just ready to be a Duke Blue Devil and play for Coach K and win a national championship. That's what I want to help them do so I have to work hard in order to give them the help they need to get the job done.
Thanks for your time and congratulations. The Blue Devil Nation welcomes you aboard.
Thank you so much. (said with obvious sincerity and appreciation) [/private]