Tag Archives: Duke Basketball Recruiting Update

Tre Jones Tallies 39 Points in Close Loss


The last time ESPN visited Apple Valley High School, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was in the stands watching Tyus Jones go up against Jahlil Okafor.  The two would go on to become teammates in Durham where they led the Blue Devils to a national championship in their freshman season.

Last evening, ESPN returned to Minnesota where another soon to be Blue Devil took to the court.  And that just happens to be Tyus younger brother Tre.

Tre Jones will follow in his brothers footsteps and attend Duke University next season where he will take over the point guard spot.  It is widely thought that, Trevon Duval will announce his intent on going to the NBA after the season.

"He's a Jones," that is all you need to know said a long time follower of high school basketball.  Tre Jones hopes he can incite more magic in Durham where he will join future teammates in highly ranked R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish.

Jones would tally 39 points last evening while dishing out a bushel of assists.  He was the best player on the court, but on this evening Apple Valley fell just short of a win in a hard-fought 82-79 loss.  Jones tried to lead a furious comeback but in the end his team could not overcome Minnehaha Academy led by Jalen Suggs.

I witnessed Jones AAU team, Howard Pulley, lose their opening game during the Nike EYBL season,  Jones took that loss hard before his team went on a major roll to become one of the circuits powers.

There is little doubt Jones took last evening loss hard as well with his brother in attendance.  But one of the reasons Tre is rated so highly is his ability to bounce back and improve.

Tre Jones’ final line for the evening was  39 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 blocked shot,   You can't get much better than that.

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Nike Peach Jam Friday Day Session Updates – Duke prospects shine

Julius Randle is tearing up the Nike Peach Jam, and BDN is here to bring you all the action. Check out Andrew Slater's in- depth interview with the "Real JR" and then as a Premium member you can watch our two videos of Randle from Augusta and get all the updates as they happen. A ton of information awaits you as a BDN Premium member, so join today and see what you've been missing out on. Photo copyright Rick Crank and BDN

The Nike Peach Jam is in full swing and we are here in South Carolina to bring you updates on all the action and the latest on the many Duke prospects here.  Austin Nichols, Matt Jones, Julius Randle, Justise Winslow, Theo Pinson, and Jahlil Okafor are but a few of the informative interviews we have on tap.  In addition, there are some younger kids starting to catch the staff's eye as well.  You can learn about them and much more as a member.  Considering the bevy of interviews we have up for Blue Devil Nation Premium members, if you've been on the fence about it, this is the perfect time to join.

Here is the recap of the Friday day session:

Howard Pulley 74 Team Texas 65

First of all, this game had some intensity to it, as Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, the Duke staff and others crowded the court to the point where they would not let any more people into the gym once the game started.  The game was much closer than the score indicates. A Julius Randle turnover allowed Pulley to go up 4, but he then came down to score and "and one" inside, which cut it to 1 with little time left. Pulley's Tyus Jones drew a triple team and found an open teammate for a 3 and that pretty much sealed the deal. After a Team Texas miss, Jones quickly scored again on a drive and then assisted on another trey and that made the final score 74-65.  Despite his team being upset, Randle was a beast again, scoring 31 points and grabbing 17 boards.  While aggressiveness is something Randle thrives on (and as he told BDN, he feels he can take anybody off the dribble at any time) his aggression sometimes causes turnovers and could also make him foul prone at the next level.  But the big picture with Randle is he is a big-time force on the floor.  One coach sitting beside me quipped, "It's hard to evaluate the players around him and those who defend him in that he's so good." I have to agree. Then there was Tyus Jones, a smooth, spunky leader on the court who thinks [private] "team first," yet still gets his own shots too. Jones's late heroics helped his team to a win; he finished with 24 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Randle and Jones are now the number one and two scorers at the entire event.

Capel will follow Team Texas

Jeff Capel has been sitting with his brother Jason for much of the camp today. Capel said he would go to Orlando and the AAU Nationals and be anywhere Julius Randle and Matt Jones were playing. So, yes, there will always be a Duke presence as Randle nears his decision.

Semi Ojeleye continues to play well

Ojeleye scored 20 points and grabbed 3 boards as his team coasted past Bluff City Legends. I just love his size and strength.  I have a mini-interview coming with Semi.  I will tell you that the Duke staff feels really good about their chances with him, and that it could be over in the near future. He's just a Duke kid through and through.

Jahlil Okafor struggles?

Part of the problem is his own play, but part is his teammates just not looking for him.  While I think the latter is the main culprit, still Jahlil was not impressive in Mac Irvin's loss to CIA Bounce. He fouled out in 15 minutes of play and his numbers were dismal:  2 points and 0 rebounds. He has not helped himself here so far.  By the way, Andrew Wiggins had 21 points for CIA.  He is one of the four best players in camp.

Oh Boo!

The dysfunctional bunch known as Boo Williams is again winless. In their first game, Anthony "Cat" Barber and Al Freeman jawed hard at one another, and it took a while for Barber to let it go. Talent and no production makes college coaches pause.  Freeman and his game are still a bit of a wreck.  Note: the Duke staff has not watched a single game this squad has played. And wasn't star forward Troy Williams supposed to have decided? Hmm.

Marcus Lee struggles as well

Marcus Lee is foul prone in a big way, and he once again finished the game on the bench as California Supreme lost again, and is now 0-3. Lee had 2 points and 5 boards; his offense is anemic. Yes he's talented and long, but putting all the hype aside, he is a little overrated and I am not the only one who feels that way.

Justise Winslow

From my conversation with him, this really seems like a good kid. He has recently been offered by Calipari and Kentucky, and he spoke highly of them, but Duke is on his list and he also spoke well of Coach K and his recent U-17 camp experience with Team USA. His production here has been good; he went for 16 points and 8 rebounds in his team's two point win this morning.

Yes, Theo!  You do have an offer!

Theo Pinson has had an offer for over eight months.  Odd how nobody knew, but the bottom line is he does now.  More may come out from this, not that it even matters at this point.  In the morning game he scored 23 points to lead CP3 to a 75-71 win over California Supreme.

Nichols Interview

Don't miss Andrew's interview with Austin Nichols.  The Duke coaches feel he will take all five of his visits before deciding.


Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

BDN Photo

The Duke Blue Devils entertained two key prospect this past weekend when Shabazz Muhammad and Amile Jefferson came to town for the Duke-North Carolina game.  Jefferson will make a decision this coming week and we discuss the latest on both the recruiting trail and team in our latest update for Blue Devil Nation Premium Members.  Patrick Cacchio has been talking to key football prospects as well and you can read those articles as well but becoming a member.  And with AAU season coming up this is the perfect time to become a paying member where you will get all the inside scoop from the most active staff on the grass roots circuit.

Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

We just posted our latest team and recruiting update on  the Blue Devil Nation Premium message board which is a members only forum.  For accurate and timely updates, BDN will always be a go to site.  There is movement on the recruiting front and we break that down for you and let you know what to expect.  We'll also tell you which players we've been positive on for almost a year while others are just jumping on the bandwagon.  Our staff has background on Amile Jefferson with information you will only find here and we were on prospects like Tyus Jones before many realized the Blue Devils interest on him.  Whether you're a former member or one on the fence, don't wonder what you are missing, join today.  We have had a monthly option for a while now, but the yearly deal is by far the best value.

Duke Basketball Team & Recruiting Update – A Crystal Clear Picture

The Dynamic duo of Matthew Jones and Julius Randle srike a pose for BDN - BDN Photo Do you want an accurate take on Duke Basketball Recruiting? Well, join BDN Premium and we'll give you a crystal clear picture.

BDN's Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Updates have set the standard among the sites and sure enough, this concept is now being copied.  We'll take that as a compliment but when push comes to shove, it is all about the content and we'll stack ours against anybody.  Here at BDN, our staff is in the trenches at AAU events.  That means our members are getting live streams of information as it happens, making our site well ahead of the curve.

We can lay claim to the fact that we cover more major recruiting events in person than any other site and that has been a running thing for several years now.  We don't send "stringers," with limited knowledge of the subject matter to do our work, nor do we sit back and depend on national network guys to do our job for us.  Seriously, do you not want first hand observations from an accomplished staff that has seen the prospects play multiple times?  No knocks here on the National guys in that many are our friends, but their sole focus is certainly not on Duke prospects nor is it a priority to cover them.  There are no smoke and mirrors tactics at BDN folks, nope, we are straightforward and honest when it comes to our coverage and we take pride in that.

If you have yet to try BDN Premium, you don't know what you're  missing of late and with some exciting changes on the horizon, it's the perfect time to check us out.  Our staff is hard working, dedicated and hands on in everything we do.  In our current update we lay out a clear picture of the staff's efforts.  And before we get on with our update where lots is happening, take a look at how much content we've pumped out recently which includes: Two interviews with both Tony Parker and Matt Jones to go with individual interviews with Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Alex Poythress, Perry Ellis, Jahill Okafor, Rasheed Sulaimon and much, much more.  Just today, recruiting analyst Andrew Slater goes in depth with Mitch McGary and we have content laying in wait this week. And our interviews have meat to them in that we don't lure you in with a premium article featuring a couple of quotes via texting.  Anyhow, let's move on to another informative and detailed (2521 word) update on the Duke Basketball recruiting scene where we paint a crystal clear picture for our members.  Trust me in that you will absolutely love our update, so if you want to find out where the coaches will be going, who is really on the radar and such, we have the answers for you.  And if you are not satisfied, we'll refund you within the first 24 hours of joining.

The picture is now crystal clear with concern to 2012 and beyond.  Duke will stick with Tony Parker until his decision is made.  Coach Krzyzewski sat front and center for many of Parker's games and the big man [private] knew it, cutting his eyes towards the man while playing.  Parker has been a bit up and down with his comments of late but my belief is that Duke is in better shape than anyone else for Tony.  His parents love Duke and if they had their way, this one would be over from what I've heard from legitimate sources.  The Parkers sat directly behind the bench this weekend and they certainly saw the Blue Devils' keen interest.  Duke has been faithful to Tony and his verbal could set other things in motion.  Coach K loves his hands and footwork and wants him to anchor the paint in Durham.  The Blue Devils have made Tony priority 1 on their 2012 wish list.

And if Parker is priority 1-A, then Mitch McGary is 1-B, or you can reverse the order if you'd like.  Duke will go hard after McGary and they feel they have a great chance at the tenacious big.  Sources are now saying McGary may pull the trigger before his high school season and if that is indeed the case, look for a whirlwind of activity in the coming months.  It is safe to say McGary will be visiting Duke and the Blue Devils will be in home with him when the time comes, but that will not happen until the team returns from their venture to China and Dubai.

The Blue Devils were most impressed with Matt Jones and he gained an offer after his play this past weekend.  Of course, as members, you all saw this one coming.  Jones glowed beyond belief when talking of Duke and you will see those videos this week.  We spoke to Jones the other night but kept it short.  He told BDN that he was on cloud nine after Coach K called and that he could certainly see himself there.  He was very excited that Duke moved in and it is fair to say that they went to the top of his list.  Jones has shown steady improvement in his game and he can slash through the lanes and has an outstanding outside shot.  He is a good on-ball defender as well and he sent a game to overtime with a defensive stop in front of Krzyzewski as time ran out.  The only knock I witnessed is that he at times has trouble shaking free for his shot.  He is a great character kid as well and BDN got his AAU coach's thoughts on that, which is another feature you can look forward to.

His teammate, the hulking Julius Randle, also has an offer and Duke feels they are in good shape there as well.  Jeff Capel has certainly been a help in this one and the thought of a package deal with Jones is most appealing.  But make no mistake about it, Duke loves Matthew Jones as a stand alone player.  Randle was called the best player in the nation on the night he dominated the Memphis front court by someone close to the situation that watched him play.  That was a bit cryptic but easy enough for you to figure out on your own.  Randle was like a bull in a China shop and it is clear that he will not back down from anyone.  I caught several of his games and was most impressed by his enormous upside.  He is a true power player that may or may not fit should Duke get Tony Parker.

The Bull - BDN Photo

And then there is another 2013 product named Jabari Parker.  What a humble superstar he is and you'll see this on coming videos as well.  Parker likes Duke a lot ... a whole lot and the Duke coaches like him a lot, a whole helluva lot.  They are in great early shape with Parker and this one might end in the spring of next year at the latest.  Parker will make an unofficial visit to Durham in due time and we'll have more on that as it develops.  While UNC and others are on him, Duke has been from the start and that will IMO pay dividends down the road.  Parker is smooth and versatile and at times cannot be stopped.  He is part of the spectacular trio joining Randle and Noel as the best of the best in 2013.

One thing many seemingly fail to see is that Duke has a great jump on 2013 for a reason.  The Duke staff will be tied up with Team USA duties next summer limiting their time on the recruiting trail.  That especially holds true for Krzyzewski and that is why he was so hands-on this past week with the class.  The three aforementioned 2013 players are clearly at the top of the wish list but more names are in the works, specifically Nerlens Noel.  This defensive demon we coined the "Sultan of Swat," is a most interesting talent and game changer.  Then there is the "Nerlens Noel effect," which causes players to alter shots for Noel is an absolute terror when it comes to blocking shots.  By the  end of the EYBL he was in every prospect's head and it doesn't matter who he is guarding.  In short, he inflicts pain on guys the same age, younger and/or older.  When I joked with Noel about the fact he didn't send out invitations to his "Block Party," he loved it.  Form that point on, Noel really opened up to me.  Make no mistake, everybody is on Noel, so Duke will have their hands full as will every other team that vies for his services.  I love me some Nerlens and so does Grant Hill, for he is making his fade rise on the cover of the 1991 Sports Illustrated stylish again;) A side note is that Grant Hill will go along on the China trip and he will be helping to teach the "Duke culture" to newcomers.

Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones, LJ Rose and Rodeny Purvis strike a pose for BDN

Some have attempted to hang me out to dry with a comment on Rodney Purvis which was misquoted, but that is something I am used to from another Duke site.  This time they made sure my name was in the head of a post.  I never intended certain things to go public but when users break the agreement upon signing up all I can do is boot them.  Purvis flat out wants to come in and play right away but Duke has a bevy of wings on the roster and in the works.  Purvis wanted to hang with Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones and LJ Rose this weekend and he is seemingly upset at, well, everything that is said these days.  The mere fact that Duke did not watch him is telling and I can tell you without revealing sources close to the situation that Purvis is no longer an option.  Of course, we were the first to say that in a private forum and now all but one site is on the bandwagon.  I think the offer to Jones may have made him see the light and/or the writing on the wall.  Purvis is a good kid, but his emotion concerns me as does his behavior when he is not on the court.  Would Duke take him if he called and wanted to come?   Make no mistake, Purvis has talent and he is a good kid, so I am in no way beating him down, but he is no Austin Rivers or Kyrie Irving.

We have to watch how we mention prospects around here and even where we'll be going on the recruiting trail in that it tips off others.  Just this week nobody was on Nerlens Noel until we were seen talking to him.  Yes, people pay close attention to everything we do at events.  It frustrates us at times but what can you do?  All I can say is pay close attention to when information is printed and as a member sit back and know that you were aware of it beforehand.  Noel is sure to pick up an offer soon.

Rasheed Sulaimon played very well at the EYBL finals as well although he saved his worst game for last and a lackluster offensive performance cost him the scoring title.  Still, he finished second and he has improved immensely since a season ago;  he's like a water bug running all over the place and locks down well on his defensive assignment.  His handle is improving as well and his offense is top shelf.  The Duke staff knew exactly what they were doing in getting this kid aboard early, a testament to Krzyzewski's eye.  That too should excite one more with concern to Jones.

Wojo was in Wisconsin this week and Krzyzewski was as well before returning to Augusta.  Chris Collins was at home this go round but he returns in the coming week.  The addition of Jeff Capel has been a winner and this staff is, well, pretty darn good.

One kid that caught our eye during the EYBL opening session was  Tyus Jones, a 2014 PG from Minnesota who plays for the older Howard Pulley team.  Once we interviewed him, it was obvious to others he had caught the Blue Devils' eyes.  Again, our every move is watched by others at events.  We actually interviewed Jones while at Boo, so he didn't slip up on me at all.  In fact, he stood out and I was amazed to learn he was 2014 for his play was smooth as silk and so far ahead of those in his class.  We have a nice interview coming your way with Jones as well.  I can tell you that he has great character, confidence and his recruitment will go on for a very long time.  Still, both Andrew and myself take pride in giving you background on players Duke likes before it really gets out there.  In short, we anticipate while at the many events, as Andrew did with Jahill Okafor.  What you may not realize is how rare a good interview with Oakfor is, so pay attention to our offerings.

Duke is still keeping an eye on Alex Poythress and Perry Ellis as well.  Neither of them have an offer and both play pretty much the same position.  Duke would likely turn here if they got one of Mitch McGary and Tony Parker but the real need is bangers and not wings.  Still, keep a close eye on these guys as the recruiting evaluation period opens back up.

Just in are the players Duke will watch in Orlando for the AAU National Showcase which runs from the 23rd to the 27th.  Mitch McGary will start there and once it is over go to Kansas City.  Teammates Julius Randle and Matt Jones will be there as well along with Nerlens Noel and Theo PinsonRasheed Sulaimon will play in the AAU Nationals in Orlando which takes place after the loaded Showcase.  And Tony Parker and Alex Poythress will play in both events.  I am trying to swing this event but right now it isn't looking good.

I am trying to rework my schedule to go to Orlando but a cash crunch may prevent that from happening.  However, Andrew is set to go to Las Vegas and you know his coverage will be top shelf.  In closing our latest update I would like to thank all of you for supporting us through membership.  We would like to give back, so here is an opportunity for you.  If you refer new members to BDN Premium, we'll give you 15% of their membership provided you e-mail or PM us before they join.  If you have a friend join for a year, that means you get 15$ cash sent to your paypal account.  If it is for six months, you get 9$.  There is no referral granted for a one or three month membership.  This is a limited time offer.  Help us grow our community!

Thanks again for choosing Blue Devil Nation Premium and the future is looking bright around here, so stay tuned for more on that. [/private]

Mitch McGary opens up to BDN

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - On the windy banks of Lake Michigan, Mitch McGary grew up in Chesterton, Indiana, a town known for its sandy dunes and being the birthplace of comedian Jim Gaffigan. He had a solid high school career at the local public school and enjoyed spending his summers on the beach and playing for SYF, a Gary, Indiana-based AAU program. Through his play on the court, he generated interest from programs in the Big Ten and Big East.

Last year, as his eighteenth year was approaching and college eligibility was looming, he and his family made the decision for Mitch, the youngest of five, to spend the next two years at Brewster Academy, a scenic New England prep school that kisses the shores of Lake Winnepesaukee with a burgeoning reputation as a basketball powerhouse. The decision to transfer schools was educational in nature, but with the added athletic benefit of competing with seven other Division I caliber players in the currently toughest high school basketball conference in the country, the NEPSAC. In his first semester, McGary, who has dealt with ADD,  earned a place atop the honor roll. On the court, by mid-December, he was known throughout the conference as a bruising energy guy for the nation's top-ranked prep school team and easily the league's best "sixth man."

Despite playing in a league where teams routinely feature multiple Division-I signees or recruits, Brewster Academy achieved a thirty-one game winning streak over the past two seasons, which was only snapped after a tough road loss to St. Thomas More, a team featuring six scholarship players, including the consensus top ranked junior, Andre Drummond. This was a game that Duke Assistant [private] Coach Nate James nearly attended. The veteran squad rebounded and won six more in a row, including a resounding 94-38 victory over Winchendon in the NEPSAC Class AAA Championships quarterfinals. In that game, the 6'10 250 lb. McGary scored 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead Brewster to a 30-1 record on the season. Unfortunately for the Bobcats of Brewster Academy, they would lose two of their last three and ultimately close out the season by suffering a narrow four-point defeat in the semi-finals of the National Prep Championship to Notre Dame Prep.

Over the course of the season, McGary added 30 pounds of mostly muscle and significantly dropped his body fat percentage, while developing into one of the top high-energy low-post wide-body prospects in the country. At the recent Pittsburgh Jam Fest, Mitch opened a lot of eyes and raised expectations of some analysts, that had not seen him play in person since early November, through his inspired and skilled play over the weekend. He led his program, SYF, to the Championship of the silver medal round, a round for teams that finished second in their pool play. Throughout the event, Mitch was kind enough to speak with us about a variety of topics to get a better sense of who he is.

Which schools are recruiting you?

Duke, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Florida St., Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Marquette, West Virginia, UConn, Xavier, and Cincinnati.

Talk about some of the passes you threw today and adding another wrinkle to your game.

I don't know. In the old days, on my old team, I used to kind of just take the rebound and try to bring it up the court, but nowadays (laughs) people are quicker to the ball or I can't handle the ball quite like I used to, but I got a little bit taller and so I've tried to get a lot better at my outlet passes. I've tried to add that to my repertoire.

Can you talk about the transition of going to Brewster and how much it has improved your game?

The transition to going to Brewster was a big step for me. Leaving home and going out on my own. I went there because of my grades, but, personally, my grades are now fine. I've tried to get stronger and I've gained like thirty pounds. I feel healthier than ever. I just need to work on my shooting a little bit more. My post moves are pretty solid, but I just didn't get the ball in the post a lot today. We were kind of, like, running and gunning a lot today. So, we might slow the game up a bit and I can show you my post work in a game.

Speaking about your improved body, although you didn't get the ball in the low post, it seemed like because of your motor, you got a lot of second-chance points tonight.

Well, yeah, I mean today wasn't the best game (15 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocked shots). I mean I'm tired from traveling and all I had to do today. I mean a couple of flights and whatever, but I was fortunate to score off of hustle. I should be able to do better tomorrow, but I'm glad we got the win. My motor should be going one hundred percent tomorrow morning. I should be able to have a better game than I did today.

Speaking of travel, do you have any visits planned in the near future?

Not really, I mean I've talked about going down to Cincinnati. Getting out to Maryland. Getting out to Florida, Arizona, and Texas. I've been to  Illinois, Marquette, Purdue, and Indiana so far.

Do you have any sort of timetable for those visits?

Not really. Just some time this spring, summer, or fall. I'll probably be making my decision next fall anyway.

Playing at Brewster, with that schedule and on a team with a ton of talent (7 high-major Division-I players), how much has that elevated your game?

Just the intensity in practice was amazing. It was frankly just another level of play from my prior school. I mean, compared to my old high school team, I can't even explain how great the difference was and is. I can't even tell you just how much better I've gotten as a result of being up there with those guys and practicing and just playing until we can't. It's also the games, where they're played frankly at so much faster a pace and with such intensity. There's just so much more intensity in the games and in individual possessions than at my old school.

Will location play a factor in your decision?

I mean location really doesn't matter to me. My parents would kind of like me to stay closer to home, but it's really whatever school fits best for me.

Mike Pegram: What about IU (Indiana University)?

I mean I talked to Coach Tom Crean yesterday and he said he still he wants me to go there. It's just a matter of me working out and seeing what school fits me the best.

Coach Davis of Cincinnati has been staying on you pretty tough?

Yeah, I talked to him yesterday. He seemed pretty cool. I need to talk to him more often to develop a better relationship with him, but I mean I like Cincinnati too.

What are you going to try to work on over the next year?

Well, last spring, I had an eighteen footer and a three-pointer in my repertoire, but I'm not as good at knocking them down as I used to be. I mean I'm going to continue to lift weights and get stronger. I'm going to be in the weight room a lot. I'm going to work on my shot and continue to work on my conditioning. Over the summer and into next spring, I'd like to work on my shot a lot more.


Yeah, a lot of work on my mid-range.

I've seen you at Brewster several times and you're much more of a bruiser than you were, say, at this time last year.

I mean I guess my coach, Jason Smith, put me in the post a lot more and playing up there is lot tougher.

Playing with guys like Markus Kennedy..
Yeah, I mean he's going to Villanova and he's a top recruit and a postgraduate who's great to practice against in the post.

And JaKarr Sampson.

Oh, yeah, well, he's my roommate. We've got a little thing going on, but..that's okay (laughs).

What's your current size?

6'11" 250.

You were talking before about your improved strength. Have you guys measured or gauged it, in terms of bench press, squats, etc.?

No, we haven't, but hopefully I can get that in this spring and we can see what I measure out at in, like, squatting, bench pressing, and stuff. We've been working out a lot in the weight room, but not really measuring or anything.

Who's the toughest player you've played against?
I'd have to say Markus Kennedy on my team, but, on other teams, I'd probably say Khem Birch.

Yeah, sure, at Notre Dame Prep.

Yeah, he's really good and tough on both ends.

Which style of play do you prefer, one that's up-and-down, pushes the pace and looks consistently for fast breaks or one that's predicated on the half-court game and a generally slower tempo?

Whatever fits me best, but I mean I like to get up and out and go, but I also feel that my strength is a strength and I'd like to have a little more focus and passing to our game.

A little more structure to your game?

Yeah, exactly, a little more structure.

Who will you be turning to for guidance in your college decision?

Coach Drumm (of SYF) and my parents.

Back to academics for a second, you mentioned in the past and earlier today that you went up to Brewster to work on your grades.

Yeah, in fact, they were really the whole reason that I first went up there. I've been able to earn As and Bs and so now that's all good, but I keep working and concentrating on them.

I heard that you now made the honor roll in the first semester.

Yeah, I did.


Thanks, man, I appreciate that.

What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses at this point?

Sure, my weaknesses are probably my three-point shot and, like, my eighteen footer. It's just not as good as it once was. I mean my strengths are probably really running the court pretty well, rebounding and controlling the ball, and lastly my post play, which I'm sorry you couldn't see today.

No, please, I've seen you quite a bit at Brewster. You were fine tonight and impressed the hell out of these guys that haven't seen you in six or seven months. What are some of the differences between what's asked of you at Brewster and your responsibilities with SYF?

Well, next year at Brewster, I'm going to be the captain. So, I actually, both here and there, am going to be the leader of the team.

With SYF particularly, I've noticed you're a lot more vocal this year than in the past.

Yeah, definitely, going to Brewster has helped a lot in terms of making me realize the need to be more vocal and demonstrate leadership. I feel like I'm the heart and soul of this team and I need to pump these guys up and keep them motivated for each game that we go out there. That's how it was at Brewster and so it translates. At some of the Brewster games, I was pretty crazy. I tried to pump up that team and get them hyped and that's how it was.

Yeah, I know. I saw you and Max (Hooper of Harvard) and Deonte (Burton, a highly thought of 2013 prospect) hyping those guys up and supporting them loudly when you weren't out there competing on the court.

Yep, yep, absolutely. We were all there for each other. Doing whatever would help to get the win.

You briefly touched on this before, but how do you feel that it's helped prepare you for college? What would you say to another young man who's considering heading up there?

It's pretty much college up there in terms of competition. I mean I feel like sometimes like I'm playing with and against college people. There's a sense of pressure and competition and intensity to win. The level of intensity and competition, like I said, is pretty much college.

Game in and game out, you're playing against multiple D-I players.

Yeah, absolutely, and I mean we played 34 games against that level of competition. We could've played as many as 40 games, if we won all of our games, but, unfortunately, yeah..

Can you tell the audience a little about Chesterton? The hometown of you and Jim Gaffigan.

Oh, yeah, I was born and raised there. I never met him, (laughs) but I went to pre-school with his niece, I think, or something like that. (laughs)
I was doing my research.

(laughs) Yeah, but I was born and raised in Chesterton…

The Dunes of Indiana.

Yeah, absolutely, I spent every summer on those Indiana dunes. That's where I go to the beach and stuff like that. The first year I moved out was kind of a big transition. I'm on my own at Brewster. I'm more responsible, you know, living on my own and making my own decisions.

Who do you try to model your game after?

Well, I really like Lamar Odom a lot. We're both left-handed. I mean I'd like to get my handle and my three-point shot a little better, but he's like my favorite player and I'd like to learn to play like him, you know, inside and out.

In January, you wrote that your three favorite or "dream schools" were Texas, Duke, and North Carolina. Is that still the case?

I guess now I would say Texas, Arizona, and Florida. I also like Maryland a lot too.

What are you hoping to show college coaches that you've improved upon from last summer to this summer?

How much my motor has gotten better and how much better I am at running the floor than last year.

So, a game like this would've been a good example of what you're trying to demonstrate.

Yeah, I tried to show how well I can rebound the ball, especially offensively, and how I'm very vocal. That's one of the focal points for colleges is to be vocal and call out commands or ways that you can help your teammates. I try to always be talkative and be helpful on  defense. That's one thing that I feel I do really well.

Is Duke recruiting you? Forgive me, but I couldn't quite fully hear your answer to the first question with the buzzers going off. Did you mention them?

Oh, yes, I spoke with Coach Nate James and I spoke with Coach Collins a couple of times. Right now, I think they probably have low interest, but I think that they're coming up Monday to Brewster.

To your open gym.

Yes, to my open gym.

And what do you know about them?

It's always been everybody's favorite. Duke's always been a powerhouse of a program and a school.

Do you know the Plumlees?

No, I do not know them personally, but I definitely know of them. They're from Warsaw, Indiana, but I'm definitely big fans of theirs. I just know of them and that they've done well at Duke.

What'a something that you learned about yourself or something new that you found out that you could do this year at Brewster?

Just living on my own. I've always had my mom do things and I was always a big mama's boy.
(Reggie Rankin, former coach and current scout for ESPN chimes in with, "Nothing wrong with that.")
 I always listen to my moms.

You get cell phone service up there? I know that's an issue at some other schools.

Yeah, I've got my own cell and it's still technically in the US. So, I guess I still get free minutes.

In terms of position, what would like to play, the four or the five?

I guess the four, but next year I'll be playing the five more often, I think, because I'll be the biggest one on the team. I guess I'll be inside banging up on people.

You've gone from being a big that can face up, at times, and liked to step out and shoot the three to a really aggressive , physical 4/5, who can do the rough, nasty stuff around the basket. You're not afraid to collide or throw an occasional elbow if it means securing a rebound. Is that a result of you working on your body or simply a matter of doing what's necessary for the team to succeed?

Yeah, I knew I had to get a lot stronger and I've just been in the weight room a lot more. My shooting has been affected by that. I've just got to keep working on that and hopefully it'll eventually get back.

In terms of rebounding, what do you think are the keys to being a good rebounder and advice that you'd give to younger players?

Mainly, I think you need to get good positioning. I think you need to be aware at all times and especially be conscious of a shot going up. Learn to read the ball coming off the rim. If you watch it, you'll learn patterns. Just get after it and either hopefully start the break or put it back up if you're on offense.

Do you feel you've improved in this area?

Yeah, probably. I've gotten stronger, which helps, and I think I've learned how to watch the game a little better.

Without insulting you in any way, have you cut down on your body-fat? I mean it looks like you have.

Oh, yeah, I've cut down a lot. I've pretty much been working on that everyday. Eating right, getting healthier, working on conditioning, cutting down on the fat, and just gaining muscle

What do you think of the weight room up there?

It's pretty nice. I mean it's top of the line stuff.

It's almost like a small college's facilities.

Yeah, pretty much. I mean it's nice and we've got a personal trainer, who helps us out. There's like an assistant coach who is also a personal trainer so he helps us out up there.

Lastly, what would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?

Just that I'm a real outgoing guy. I'm happy to talk to anyone. I'll talk about recruiting or whatever they'd like to talk about. I'm really open to anything. At the first day of school, I made, like, two hundred friends. I was really friends with everybody. Next year, a bunch of teachers want me to go for class president.

Are you gonna run?

(laughs) I'm thinking about it, but I'm not sure. They said I'd be good at it and so I think I might.

Thanks very much for your time and I'm sure I'll see you around.

Thank you. No problem.

Last day questions:
How do you feel you played in this tournament?

Not as good as I did in the last tournament (NY2LA Tournament). I think I'd say, right now, my reputation is ahead of my game. I've just got to forget about all of that stuff and just stick to playing, stick to helping my team, and just winning tournaments. We've got a chance to win a silver bracket still and so I'm going to try to help us achieve that.

That's something to strive for. You're a competitor.

Yeah, you're right. It's something to strive for. We've got to win the silver bracket, I guess, before we can win the gold. (laughs)

Right, right.

The first two tournaments have been, well they've been okay.

When's your next tournament, by the way?

I think we're going to the Jayhawk Invitational.

And then, over the summer, do you go to Orlando or Vegas, do you know?

I think we're going to Orlando. Yeah, I think we're going to the New York to LA (a Milwaukee area tournament) in July and then to Orlando, but I'm not totally sure. I'm not totally positive on that one yet, man.

Thanks again.

Alright, man. [/private]