Tag Archives: Rodney Purvis

EYBL Session 3 Recap – Duke prospects aplenty

Andrew Wiggins and Theo Pinson are two future Duke Basketball Prospects - BDN Photo, Lance King

For many, Memorial Day Weekend is a time of remembrance, family, friends, and grilling. But for recruiting junkies this is a time to catch the top prospects in the nation battle it out. For the second straight year Nike ran its new EYBL, Elite Youth Basketball League. The league hosts three sessions starting in Hampton, VA at the Boo Williams Sports complex in early April, Dallas, TX at the Fieldhouse USA in late April, and the last leg, before the finals, was held in Los Angeles, CA at the HAX this past weekend. The culminating event after the three regular season events will be the Nike Peach Jam held in North Augusta, SC from July 12-15th. The top 24 teams will be invited to battle it out for the EYBL Championship as well as a contract from Nike.

This year there was a bevy of Duke prospects at hand in L.A including the likes of Jabari Parker, Tony Parker, Alex Poythress, Rodney Purvis, Theo Pinson, Rasheed Sulaimon (verbal commit), Andrew Wiggins, and Nerlens Noel. Let’s see what went on with them this weekend.

I know it was [private] early morning but it’s hard to forget your basketball jersey at the hotel isn’t it? Well there was a little mishap with Tony Parker and his jersey. Tony had forgotten his jersey at the hotel and unfortunately it was not brought back in time for him to play in his first game vs. Playground Elite (WI). With Tony out this meant Alex Poythress was the main attraction. Alex went 5-8 from the field for 12pts and 5rebounds. He also had 2 blocks.  Alex put on a nice display of athleticism with a beautiful baseline reverse layup. He has the type of frame that NBA GM’s drool over. At already 6’8 it is clear that his upper body still has room to fill out, and when it does watch out! Alex is seemingly known for his three point shot, however, that is not all this talent can do. Alex displays a great slashing ability and has been on the connecting end of several big time alley oops that will surely come to a YouTube channel near you. His most impressive attribute in my opinion is how seemingly effortless he makes his put backs look. At this point though, it is clear his handle will need improvement but that can come with time and repetition. His defense can use more consistent intensity, but again, this is not a worry as it can be coached and drilled into him, and AAU ball isn’t exactly a clinic for defense. In his night game Alex went for only 9pts on 4-7 shooting but had 8rebounds including 2 offensive.

Tony Parker finally got around to getting his jersey for the Georgia Stars second game of the night vs. a solid New Jersey Playaz team. Tony put on one of his better displays this game putting up 17pts and 6 rebounds on an efficient 8-12 from the field and 1-3 from the line. Using his wide frame Tony parked himself in the paint and didn’t move, which should be a delight to hear for many Duke fans. Tony shows lots of comfort with his back to the basket often backing his man down before displaying an extremely quick spin move to mini hook shot. Tony also has no problem dropping a 5-8ft fade away jumper that is a joy to see go in. There was a little bit of controversy in this game between Tony and his coach but I assure Duke fans there is no worry with this. In his game against Alabama Challenge Tony was consistently fed the ball in the post. The Georgia Stars would work the ball around the arc while Tony would flash in the post from side to side. In this game Tony displayed some quality vision by passing inside to his teammates on many occasions. Unfortunately not many of his teammates hit the shots but the passes were there from Tony. Parker put up 19pts and 8 rebounds on another solid 8-14 shooting performance while also going 3-5 from the line. He continued to display his comfort in the post as well as a solid face up game. In catching up with Tony after the game he knows that his post game is solid but that adding a respectable face up game is essential in his development.

We’ve discussed one Parker, now let’s move onto another one, Jabari Parker. Regarded as a top two prospect in the 2013 class, Jabari displayed a plethora of moves this weekend. One of his best attributes is his knowledge of the game at such a young age which has no doubt been strengthened by his father’s tutelage. Jabari displays great instinct in when to give the ball up. He often made plays this weekend which eventually led his team to an easy bucket. In his game vs. All Ohio Red, Jabari put up 16pts and 7 rebounds on 8-19 shooting from the field but went 0-3 from the line. Jabari also had 4 blocks in this game which speaks well of his defense, something he really enjoys doing. While not a freak athlete at this point, he more than holds his own against the competition in that regard. What makes him special is how seemingly smooth he looks on the court gliding around. In his match up against BABC, Jabari put up 12pts and 6 rebounds on an efficient 5-6 shooting from the field. He also added 3 assists. One thing is for sure, Jabari Parker is a future pro right now and if Duke is so fortunate to land the Chicago product then we will be in great hands with him.

Let’s move onto one of the more impressive defenders not only in the EYBL but in the entire country, Nerlens Noel. Sporting a classic high top fade and pogo stick type frame, Noel is exactly the type of athletic defender every division one school is coveting. In his matchup against the Charlotte Royals he put up 13pts and 8 rebounds on 5-6 shooting from the field and 3-3 from the charity stripe. As far as his defense goes, he had 4 blocked and altered countless others. Noels length and athleticism gave fits inside to the opposition which clearly got frustrated all weekend. He has an incredibly quick second jump similar to Shawn Marion which allows to get up quickly again for the rebound or blocking/altering another shot. Most of his points this weekend came off of put backs and moves from about 10ft and in.

The only verbal commitment Duke had at the EYBL was 2012 guard Rasheed Sulaimon. Rasheed hurt his ankle in his game against Arkansas Wings Elite. Before his injury he was matched up with 2012’s Archie Goodwin, often regarded as one of the better players and athletes in his class. Rasheed has become a big time defender and he proved it in the 19 minutes he played that game. He held Archie to 3-12 shooting, and quite frankly some of those buckets came after Rasheed had left the game with injury. The play in which the injury occurred was a 3pt shot from the wing which he hit, but on his way down he landed awkwardly on his ankle and stated he had heard a pop. Fortunately he was able to come back in and show that it wasn’t too severe. Impressive to say the least, considering many players may have considered shutting it down for at least the day as to not risk anything further. His handle has proven to be much more advanced than I had originally anticipated, clearly showing he is improving in this area. His lateral quickness allows him to really stay in front of his defender. Combine that with a low defensive stance that would make Coach K extremely proud and you’ve got one good looking future defender. At this point Rasheed is showing to be a very solid shooter from beyond the arc as well as a bit of a mid-range game. As he adds strength he will be able to follow through and finish with contact when he gets to the rim. His best offensive game came against MoKan Elite where he put up 17pts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, and 1 steal on a solid 7-14 shooting.

At one point it was thought that 2012 guard Rodney Purvis would never leave the state for college. That is until he had committed to Louisville due to an incredible relationship with now former Louisville assistant Tim Fuller. Once Fuller left Louisville, it was thought Rodney would decommit, and sure enough he eventually did. Before he had committed to Louisville, the North Carolina product had Duke very high on his list, and now, post decommitment, it seems Duke is right back up there. Rodney displayed some very nice dribble penetration this weekend that either led to a bucket or a kick out to a teammate. He had multiple And 1 situations all throughout the weekend which speaks well of his strength at this age as he finished well through contact. Rodney also showed some quality effort as I saw him dive for multiple loose balls, a quality any team certainly would enjoy. He attempted many pull up jumpers from about the 18ft mark which unfortunately were inconsistent. With time and practice he should improve on that aspect of his game. Rodney also showed some quality defense this weekend. He is very quick going both north and south but also going east to west. From a scoring perspective, his best offensive game came in his last, against the Jackson Tigers. Rodney put up 18pts, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists on 7-16 shooting from the field and 3-6 from the line. He consistently put up between 15 and 18 points all weekend long. As Andrew mentioned it seems as if at this point it is a N.C State/Duke race, though we all know how fluid recruiting is. In speaking with him this weekend I asked if he would be leaving Upper Room Academy since it seems to be only going through the junior year. He told me that he is planning on staying because they are supposed to soon add a senior year.

It may be a ways from now but Theo Pinson and Andrew Wiggins have firmly placed themselves at the top of everyone’s 2014 list. The two athletic guards displayed flashes this weekend that shows why everyone is so high on the two freshman. As far as this tournament goes, neither guard put up ridiculous numbers. Against the Arkansas Wings Elite, Theo put up 17pts and 4 rebounds on 7-11 shooting from the field and 3-5 from the line. Andrew had his best offensive game against Boo Williams when he put up 13pts on 3-12 shooting from the field and 7-10 from the free throw line. Both players showed off superb athleticism this weekend as well as flashes of what is to come in the future. As freshman, it is a testament to their poise that their coaches have trusted them enough to put them on the big stage. Both players showed confidence in taking their shots and not being nervous in such a setting. I spoke with one of the CIA Bounce staff after their game and he spoke very highly of Andrew Wiggins. I had asked how it was working with him and he could not have been more complimentary of him. He stated that he’s really just a kid at this point who isn’t fully aware of the onslaught of media that is in his future, but that to this point he has handled it with maturity beyond his years. He also said that the game has already at this point really slowed down for Andrew, which is extremely vital to his early development. Simply put, these two players look to have big time futures.

The game of the weekend was easily CP3 vs. Houston Hoops, so good that I felt it deserved its own paragraph. This game hosted 5 top 50 guys including Rasheed Sulaimon, L.J Rose, J-Mychal Reese, Rodney Purvis, and Theo Pinson. The crowd was big time for this highly anticipated match up. The bounce of the ball and squeak of the sneakers was overshadowed by the playful banter between families of both teams. This game meant something to these players and families, and both teams showed it. While Rodney put up 17 points, it did not come easy. The experienced trio of J-Mychal Reese, Rasheed Sulaimon, and L.J Rose made it very difficult for Rodney to penetrate to the hoop. Instead he was forced to shoot much more than he probably liked and had to earn his points at the line where he went for an impressive 7-8. Despite a hobbled ankle, Rasheed continued to play overall stellar defense against CP3. At halftime the game was 30-28 Houston Hoops. The second half had a flurry of traded baskets keeping a quick and exciting pace. The crowd grew even more ruckus as the game was within a few points. In the end a very solid Houston Hoops team pulled out the victory 63-58. Rasheed ended up with 14pts and 3 rebounds on 3-9 shooting from the field and 7-9 from the line. Rasheed continuously attacked the hoop getting past quick defenders. He hit a few clutch free throws to ensure his team the win.

As far as other players that impressed me this weekend there were three. Houston Hoops’ Justin Jackson, a 2014 prospect, showed a nice soft touch around the rim for such a young player. Justin is a 6’5 wing prospect from Bryan, Texas. Secondly I was extremely impressed with Tony Parker and Alex Poythress’ teammate Marcus Hunt, a 6’5 215lbs 2012 prospect. Marcus displayed a great ability to attack the hoop and often finished through contact. He has a strong frame for his age which helps against smaller guards. The third prospect which impressed me was Jahlil Okafor of Mac Irvin Fire. The 2014 prospect is 6’10 and 255lbs and showed a lot of quality flashes for a young freshman. He is a big body down low that many coaches will surely observe over the next few years. His teammate and Duke prospect Jabari Parker spoke very highly of Jahlil even calling him the best freshman in the country. [/private]

Huge recruiting coverage weekend in store

Top notch coverage of the main Duke recruiting targets awaits you - join BDN Premium and judge for yourself the quality input. Pictured Julius Randle

If you are not a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium, now is a great time to join for our Nike EYBL live coverage begins on Friday.  As many of you know, the Tournament of Champions features no main Duke prospects at this time, but at the Nike EYBL in California?

BDN Recruiting Analyst Andrew Slater and our west coast correspondent Varand  Khachadouri will both cover the loaded event.  You will get first hand reviews and live updates on our members only message board from the events start to finish.

And who will you hear about?  Let’s start with the Georgia duo of Tony Parker and Alex Poythress, two front court players at the top of the Blue Devils wish list.  Our staff will also follow Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, two absolute studs.

They will also check out the talented CIA Bounce team with Andrew Wiggins and a young upstart named Theo Pinson.  And of course, covering Pinson means you will hear from another hot name on the Duke recruiting radar, PG Rodney Purvis.

Heck, I am just scratching the surface with names … Nerlens Noel, Brannen Greene, Trent Williams and others will be checked out as well.  And of course, the interviews then start rolling in all next week and beyond.  And if you haven’t seen one of our interviews of late, let’s just say they are about as concise as one can get, averaging almost 2000 words each.

Summer time balling and covering the grass roots circuit is our time of year, a strength of this site, but we are more than that.

Football recruiting is red-hot and we have the fastest growing premium football coverage around where Patrick Cacchio is on the ball with the latest breaking news.  He’s broke the last two recruits at Duke and this site is definitely football friendly.  He also pens a weekly in depth article called Football Friday for members only.

Check out BDN Premium for yourself if you are a Blue Devils fan that loves a dedicated site that is Duke-centric.  While we are starting to cover the national recruiting scene as well, we are the only site sending reps to get the information you really want to hear, that being the latest on Duke prospects and that will not end.

And changes are in store as well, as we rework the site to better suit your needs.  Quite frankly, we have a great staff, friendly members that want you to join them in the latest discussion on a flame free message board that isn’t filled with not so witty one liners distracting from the subject matter.

And we are all Duke fans at heart just like you and that shines through as well. 

If there is a press conference at Duke, we are there in person.  If there are events from the Men’s Basketball Banquet, the NC Pro Am action to the Coach K Academy, we are there.  And if there is a basketball or football game, we are there in person as well.  In short, BDN a full coverage site.

I’m excited about the future here and again, I love the staff I have assembled that has a perfect balance of youth and wisdom.  I personally invite you to join us and promise you that you will love the information within.  We want you to compare BDN’s coverage with our competition for we are more than proud of our product and think you get a lot of bang for the buck over a years time,

Lastly, thanks for visiting Blue Devil Nation and be sure to bookmark the site and follow us on our informative Twitter and Facebook pages which can be found on the main page.  And it is you that makes up the Blue Devil Nation, a site with total dedication to Duke Athletics.  Now, come on in and join us!

Mark Watson, owner of Blue Devil Nation

High School Hoops 2011 Edition No. 2

This week’s edition starts out with player analysis on Marshall Plumlee and Quinn Cook, and then moves on to provide a bouquet of links to box scores and articles discussing the other Duke commits and recruiting targets. [private]

I watched Marshall Plumlee (7’0″ 215) and Christ School take on Quality Education Academy via streaming video on the Internet, and I was pleased with some of what I observed. Plumlee ended the game with 10 points, including going 4 for 4 from the free throw line, and four blocked shots.

Quality Education Academy won by a score of 77-65 in a game that wasn’t that close. The Fighting Pharaohs dominated the Greenies for the last three quarters after initially falling behind 12-3, but rallying to end the 1st quarter in a 15-15 tie. QEA utilized pressure defense and quick hands to exploit Christ School’s ball handling skills.

Plumlee worked hard in the low post on defense and was effective early in maintaining his position. Christ School played both zone and man-to-man defense in the game. Later in the game, Quality Education Academy repeatedly attacked down the middle of the lane and dished passes to the baseline for easy baskets as Plumlee attempted to step up and defend the ball.

On offense, Plumlee operated mainly out of the high post and delivered a couple of nice passes for assists. He also demonstrated the ability to drive the lane and score or draw a foul and convert from the charity stripe. This is how he scored 6 of his 10 points with the other two baskets coming from a dunk off a pass into the low post and a nice 10-12 foot jump shot in front of the free throw line.

A key point, which must be communicated, is the Greenies are a perimeter oriented 3-point shooting team that makes minimal effort to feature Plumlee in their offensive sets. Watching this game, I believe he made the most of his scoring opportunities.

The broadcast commentator commented while most high school seven footers are clumsy, Plumlee was quick off his feet and athletic. The commentator also remarked Plumlee’s weakness on defense was a propensity to leave his feet too often on pump fakes and passes.

He needs to gain much more strength to be effective in the ACC and he will need to work on his left hand. Plumlee caught a pass in the low post and moved across the lane attempting a left handed jump hook, but he missed badly – air ball badly. Moreover, he was whistled for four fouls in the game as the quicker QEA players’ maneuvered by him with ease at times. One of his four fouls was for an illegal screen on an inbounds play and he committed a block attempting to break-up a fast break. The other two fouls were a direct result of him being out of position on defense. On the offensive end of the court, he was not effective rebounding the basketball.

Overall, I was impressed with Plumlee’s play. He obviously still needs to improve in several areas; however, he demonstrated good skill sets and athleticism to complement his 7′ 0″ size, including a length of the court outlet pass off a defensive rebound, so I am optimistic he will be a valuable addition to the Blue Devil roster.

Earlier in the week, Plumlee scored 14 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as Christ School defeated Providence Day School 82-54. The day after the QEA loss, Christ School bounced back with a 94-60 victory over Ensworth. Plumlee’s stat line was nine points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots.

On Saturday afternoon, Quinn Cook (6’1” 160) and Oak Hill took on Quality Education Academy and once again I took advantage of streaming video, which was available on the Internet, at the IHigh website. Cook scored 13 points as Oak Hill came storming back, in the 4th quarter, from a double-digit deficit to defeat QEA 73-71.

Offensively, Cook is best described as smooth. He is comfortable with the ball in his hands and delivers crisp passes to teammates with ease. Cook also demonstrated the ability to attack the middle of the defense with nice drive and dish skills.

Cook orchestrates the offense with purpose quickly passing the ball to teammates or driving with the ball. He does not repeatedly pound the ball into the court without going anywhere, which is a weakness many young point guards demonstrate.

In this game, his outside shot was not falling as he only knocked down one 3-pointer even though he had several open looks. Cook has a reputation as a deadly 3-point shooter, he went 11-26 (.423) this past summer at the FIBA U17 World Championship, so I believe last night was an anomaly. All players have an off game shooting from time to time.

Defensively, Oak Hill switched up between man-to-man, a 2-3 zone, and a half court trap. Cook was aggressive in the zone and half court trap, but in the man-to-man he did not exert a tremendous amount of on ball pressure choosing instead to play off his man a bit. This could be a factor of the specific match-up or perhaps it is indicative Cook is still not fully recovered from his recent knee surgery.

Overall, Cook played a solid game and impressed me as a player who will have an immediate impact at the next level. While Cook did not demonstrate blazing speed a la Kyrie Irving or a deadly outside shot a la Andre Dawkins, he did demonstrate excellent ball handling skills and poise. With Irving most likely departed to the NBA, Cook will challenge to start and, at a minimum, be a significant contributor off the bench as a freshman.

At the Rotary Tip-Off Classic, Austin Rivers (6’5” 180) was named Tournament MVP with 28 points, 10 rebounds and four assists performance as Winter Park defeated Orlando Christian Prep 72-40 in the Championship game on Saturday night. On Thursday, Rivers scored 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting (3 of 6 on threes) as Winter Park defeated Spruce Creek 81-43, in the quarterfinals. On Friday night, in the semi-finals, Winter Park defeated Evans 74-55. Austin Rivers scored 15 points in the game.

In Richmond, Michael Gbinije (6’6” 180) was named Tournament MVP as Benedictine defeated Hopewell, 59-52, to win the Rebel Invitational. Gbinije scored 15 points in the Championship Game. He scored 28 points to lead Benedictine to an 80-76 victory over Meadowbrook in the opening game, while in the semifinals, Gbinije was held to five points, but Benedictine advanced to the championship game with a 59-45 victory over St. Christopher’s.

Rasheed Sulaimon (6’3” 180) scored 24 points on Thursday evening but Strake Jesuit dropped a 59-52 decision to Killeen Harker Heights in the opening round of the Aldine ISD Invitational. On Friday night, Sulaimon scored 20 points as Strake Jesuit defeated Waller 77-41. Strake Jesuit defeated Rosenberg Terry, on Saturday evening, 52-47.

Sulaimon is averaging 22.3 points per game through the first six games of the season. He has 18 assist against only five turnovers.

Rodney Purvis (6’2” 165) scored 18 points to lead Upper Room Christian Academy to a 75-61 victory over St. David’s on Thursday night. Purvis scored 14 of his points in the 1st half.

In Wisconsin, J.P. Tokoto (6’6” 180) was held to 11 points as Milwaukee Marquette defeated Menomonee Falls 58-55 on Friday night. Tokoto was in foul trouble early and sat out most of the 1st half. On Saturday night, Tokoto exploded for 23 points including 14 in the 3rd quarter but Menomonee Falls lost to Milwaukee Washington 95-85.

Finally, wrapping up this week’s edition is Tony Parker (6’9” 265) and Miller Grove who defeated Milton 71-61. Milton was considered the number one team in the nation by several polls including USA Today. Tony Parker recorded a 20 points and 12 rebounds double-double in the big win. In this video interview, Parker credited defense as the key to the victory. Miller Grove improved to 4-0.
[/private]

BDN checks in with Duke Prospect Rodney Purvis

If you ask anyone in the recruiting world who Rodney Purvis is, they will all know the name.  Purvis, a 2013 stud prospect, has been turning heads for quite awhile now.  Armed with the ability to get into the lane at will, Rodney has secured himself thus far as a top 5 prospect among the different recruiting services.  The talented guard is receiving interest from anyone and everyone and it’s no wonder when you see the skills he brings to the court.  Purvis, a North Carolina native, got a chance to stop by Duke and take a visit and in turn, received himself a scholarship offer from the reigning national champions.  BDN got a chance to speak with the talented youngster, here is what he had to say.

BDN: You have a great knack for getting into the lane, is working on your handle something you do a lot?

RP: Yes I work on my handles a lot actually and I’m trying to make the change to being a point guard. [private]

BDN: What are some other things you work on?

RP: I work a lot on my shooting and passing.  I have a trainer so I do a lot of strength and conditioning as well.

BDN: What are colleges recruiting you as?

RP: Most colleges are recruiting me as a point guard but also telling me I can play the two also.

BDN: Now you are trying to make the transformation, but do you have a preference on position?

RP: Na I really don’t.  I really don’t mind playing either one.

BDN: Where do you like to catch the ball?

RP: Usually from the wing or the top of the key is where I like it.

BDN: Do you have a go-to move?

RP: (laughs) Na I got a variety of moves.

BDN: How long have you been playing basketball for?

RP: I’ve been playing for about 4-5 years now.

BDN: What would you say is a strength of your game right now?

RP: Definitely slashing and getting into the lane and creating for me or one of my teammates.

BDN: How about something you need to work on?

RP: I’d probably say my shooting right now.  I work on it a lot though.

BDN: At this stage of your career is your defense where you’d like it to be?

RP: I’ve been playing against better competition my whole life and I’ve guarded some of the best players around. On the defensive end I can get better but right now I am where I think I should be.

BDN: How do you think you played this summer?

RP: I think I played pretty well, I think I could have finished a little better, but I think I did pretty well overall.

BDN: What schools are coming at you the hardest right now?

RP: Wake Forest, Duke, Texas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina and Xavier.

BDN: You’ll be visiting Xavier soon, correct?

RP: Yea I’ll be heading down there this weekend.

BDN: Now you also recently dropped into Duke.  Who did you get to talk with and what did you get to do?

RP: Yea I got to speak with Coach K with my family in his office.  The whole coaching staff was there also.  We got to talk for about forty-five minutes to an hour.

BDN: Did you get to tour any facilities?

RP: Na we didn’t.  We went into the gym and got to see the players play for a little bit, but I had to leave after.

BDN: You also received an offer from Duke as well, can you talk about that?

RP: Yea after talking with Coach K, my AAU coach talked to Coach Wojo afterwards, and he just told me I had received a scholarship from Duke University.

BDN: Have you formed any relationships with the coaches?

RP: Yea yea I’ve talked to Coach Nate James a lot, kind of on a weekly basis sort of. I call him a lot and talk to him.  He’s really a great guy.

BDN: You’ll be making the trip to Durham again soon for Countdown to Craziness.

RP: Yes I will be. I’m really anxious to see how that goes. They probably have one of the best crowds in the country so I’m waiting to see how that goes.

BDN: Appreciate your time, Rodney.

RP: Thanks, take care. [/private]

In depth interview with Duke prospect Rodney Purvis

BDN's Andrew Slater talks with future stud Rodney Purvis in our latest in depth prospect interview. BDN Photo

Rising sophomore Rodney Purvis is a 6’3″ 185 lb guard, who is scheduled to play for Upper Room Christian Academy, a parochial school that runs through the tenth grade, in his native Raleigh. Due to proximity, their friendship, short memories, or relative talent, Purvis has been compared by a few to recent number one draft pick and fellow Raleigh product, John Wall. Last month, the very bubbly and social Purvis, who has demonstrated a preternatural ability to slash to the basket, spoke with Blue Devil Nation and others about his relationship with the aforementioned Wall, Duke’s interest, and whether his childhood favorite in Chapel Hill was still his favorite, amongst other topics.

How did it feel to be the only rising sophomore invited to the LeBron James Academy?

Oh, it was an honor to be there. Being able to compete made it even better.

What did you learn, between the skills drills and the games?

Just competing, for the most part. You can see why guys deserved to be there.

In terms of recruiting, which schools are coming after you hardest right now?

Kentucky, Louisville, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Xavier, and UNC and Duke

Have any of those schools formally offered you yet?

Yes, [private] Virginia offered, Georgia Tech offered, North Carolina Central offered, Xavier and Virginia Tech offered. Oh, and Wake offered.

It seems so early, but are these programs recruiting you as a combo guard? Point guard?

Yes, sir, they’re almost all recruiting me a combo guard at this point.

In the backcourt, all things being equal, where do you prefer to play?

Point guard, yeah, I’d have to say point guard at this point.

I know UNC was supposed to be, at least, your childhood favorite. Is that still the case?

Yes, they’re still one of my favorites. It’s just a great school. They’ve got a great history and it’s about twenty minutes from my house. My family could come and watch me play.

[Jerry Tipton] John Calipari has developed a reputation of having one and done guards recently. The fact that they’re seriously looking at you at this relatively early an age would indicate that he and his staff, perhaps, view you as being a potential next in line. How do you feel about that?

It means a lot in that everybody wants to be in the NBA and things like that. John Calipari is the kind of guy that can get you there, if you want to go there.

There have been some comparisons between you and John Wall, who you know pretty well,  probably because of where you’ve grown up. What do you make of people comparing the two of you?

They shouldn’t. (laughs). There’s really no comparison at all, between me and him.

Is he a hero, if you will, of yours? Someone you admire?

Yes, we grew up together and played on the same team. We’re real close.

Have you played a lot of one-on-one against him?

Oh, yeah, probably over a hundred times and I’ve lost every single time. He’s a fierce competitor. If you’ve got game point, he’s just not going to let you score or anything.

What do you think makes him so hard to check?

Speed. (laughs) It’s just hard to keep him in front, you know. You can back off of him, but he is going to make his jump shots in a one-on-one. The other thing is he’s a good defender with his long arms, you know, so it’s hard to score on him also.

What would you like to take from his game and add to yours?

Probably playing in transition. Watching John..he is so successful in transition. It’s crazy. I’m just trying to watch how he does things, you know, like make the extra pass or hitting open teammates when he’s on the break.

When you come out for the first thing in the morning and see some of the coaching heavyweights out there, like Coaches Krzyzewski, Boeheim, Williams, or Matta, does that have any effect on you? Do you even notice?

Yeah, absolutely, because you see who’s walking in and, perhaps, watching you. One guy I noticed, well, was Coach K. I’m not trying to knock any of the other coaches, but maybe it was just because the light was on him or he caught my eye. I try not to pay too much attention to it because I’m just trying to play well so that I can get noticed by them.

[Kentucky reporter] I know you mentioned before that you’re a combo guard or whatever. Can you talk about, like, I know we’re asking a lot of Kentucky questions, but  can you talk about Calipari and the guards he’s developed? Do you see anything in his coaching that, um, helps the point guards out?

Like I said to you before, if you want to get, I mean, if you want to be “one-and-done,” then Kentucky is the place to go. It’s just that simple. They’re the place to go right now, if you want to be a “one-and-done” type of player.

Would you like to be a “one-and-done” player?

Well, it’s something that me and my mom have been talking about a little bit, but we’re so far away that it’s not realistic to even talk about. Playing and improving is all I’m trying to concentrate on now. That’s it.

What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses right now?

Oh, my strengths are getting to the basket and creating for me or my teammates. My weakness is probably my in-between game, like, instead of just going all the way, just pulling up. My body has taken a lot of wear and tear by just going to the basket consistently.

Where do you feel comfortable shooting the ball?

Like at the elbows or the free throw line extended.

[Mike DeCourcy] Is part of the problem with working on your in-between game that every time you get there, you can get all the way to the rim?

Yes, it’s kind of hard to just stop and shoot the jumpsuit, if you’re just used to going to the basket. It’s something, though, that I’ve got to train myself to do.

[Mike DeCourcy] I know it’s a long way off, but do you have a list of schools that are ideal for you? Or ones that you’re thinking about?

Yes, just about every school in the ACC, some schools in the Big East, an SEC school or two, and some Pac-Ten schools.

[Jerry Tipton] With you growing up a North Carolina fan, would you say they were first among equals? Do you know what I mean? That it’ll be harder for you to turn them aside.

Not really, because, once it comes down to it, I’ve got to what’s best for me at that point. If North Carolina isn’t the best situation for me, then I won’t go. It’s as simple as that.
  

 [Jerry Tipton] How much do you think that John Wall might put in a good word for Kentucky? How much does that play into your mind that he was very, very successful? I mean an All-American  in his first year.
Yeah, I’m sure he’s putting in a good word or at least I hope he is. I’ve just got to keep working at it to hopefully earn a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

 

[Jerry Tipton] Why do you think it hasn’t come yet?
Probably because of my age and the grade I’m in

Have you taken any visits yet or do you have any planned for the rest of the summer?

I went up to Kentucky when John first got there because there was a junior All-American camp there and the campus was really nice. It’s just a basketball state. I mean there’s nothing else. No distractions. Just basketball.

Have you visited any of the schools in your area at all in the past?

No, not really.

[Jerry Tipton] Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, John Wall, and Marquis Teague is now coming and then Rodney Purvis. Do you put yourself into that line. How does that play on your mind?

Oh, you know, all of those are great players and all have made the NBA, well, except for Marquis Teague, but he’s highly ranked and he’s really good also. Honestly, to just have my name in that category would be great. You know, just having all those great players and point guards.

[Jerry Tipton] Is there pressure with that?

No, there’s no pressure at all. I just try to go out there and focus and play.

Would you be open to Duke as well? I know you mentioned before about being a childhood fan of UNC.

Oh, shoot, yeah. Coach K is a great coach! I’d definitely be open to Duke. Absolutely.

Has Coach Krzyzewski  or another Duke coach communicated with you?

Yes, yes, Nate James has spoken with me. Coach James.

How do you feel about being on the road a lot during the summer? Do you like it?

Well, I’ve been on the road a lot, but it’s been great. Just coming out and meeting new people and meeting other great players and talking with new people like you guys has been great.

Have any other players or your teammates been talking with you about attending or encouraging you to go their school?

P.J. does it a lot. Reggie Bullock does it a lot. Oh, yeah, and Marquis Rankin for Virginia Tech has been encouraging me to go their school so, you know, it’s like all of my teammates have been encouraging me to go their school, once they’ve committed. It’s fun though.

Does it just go in one ear and out the other or does some of it stick with you?

Well, I mean it would be great to play with one of my AAU teammates. I mean I think about it, but not a lot.

Are any of them going to be in college by the time you get there?

(laughs) That’s a great question, but I doubt it.

[Jerry Tipton] How close do you live to John Wall?

Ten minutes maybe. Before he left for the NBA summer leagues, I went over to his house and talked with him a little bit about different things.

[Jerry Tipton] How do you think he feels about being the first overall pick?

Right now, he’s overwhelmed. He’s a lucky kid, well, he’s not lucky because he works for everything he got. He’s a local kid from Raleigh, North Carolina, who made it and now his work ethic is going to take him over the top. You know how some guys they’ll come in and not live up to the hype because they don’t want to work and improve. Well, that won’t happen with him. With the amount of work that he put in, he’s going to be successful.

Do you have a similar work ethic?

Oh, yes, absolutely, anytime that I can, I’m in the gym. 

Thank you for your time.

Absolutely. [/private]

Quincy Miller highlights opening night of the NC Pro Am for Duke fans

UNC fans turned out to see there future in Harrison Barnes who scored 16 points including this dunk at the NC Pro Am - Photo copyrighted Rick Crank, BDN Photo

DURHAM – Sporting his Team USA attire, Quincy Miller highlighted the opening night of the NC Pro Am for Duke fans.  Miller had just come back to Durham from San Antonio where the U-18 team had their way with world competition.  Miller, of course, is a key Duke recruiting target in the class of 2011 and the versatile prospect showed he was unafraid to go up against the older guys scoring 14 points in a single half of play due to his late arrival.

Because he was late to the event, the promoter allowed Miller to play for one more half with another team as a fill in and he tallied 10 points in that game.  Miller went up against future UNC player P.J. Hairston. In fact, his severely undermanned team faced what was essentially a Carolina All Star team that consisted of Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Jon Henson and others.  But with Hairston, the battle got a bit heated.  The two went head to head late in the game and despite surely being tired from jet lag, Miller outscored the offensive minded Hairston 14-13 in a single half of play, meaning, how many would Miller have scored with full two half’s?

Harrison Barnes was as advertised, calm, cool and collected on the court.  Barnes opened the game with two emphatic dunks as his team rolled to an early lead over what appeared to be one of the weakest teams in this years field.  Barnes ended the game with 16 points while coasting in the second half.

Reggie Bullock added 10 points and Henson added 8.  Also playing on the Tar Heel laden Team Stackhouse was Miller’s high school and AAU teammate Deuce Bello who had a game high 18 points and showed off his athletic skill set.  Team Stackhouse won easily by a 81-60 margin.

In an earlier game, the youthful prospect Rodney Purvis scored 16 points while wowing the crowd with his abilities.  Purvis is just a rising sophomore in high school.

N.C. Sate fans turned out in droves as well, but Ryan Harrow and Lorenzon Brown were no-shows.  C.J. Leslie did play though and he tallied 16 points to go with his teammate Tracy Smith 14.

The NBA’s number one draft pick, John Wall, was also in attendance and his presence alone made some in the crowd a bit giddy.  Wall was seen talking to former UNC standout Jerry Stackhouse for most of the evening.

All of the Duke players were no shows due to the break at school and or Nike skills academy camps.  The Blue Devils will start to appear next week where the games are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

NOTES – There was a very solid opening night crowd despite what was a parking mess due to construction on the N.C. Central Campus.  Expect a nice walk to the event if you are able to attend.  Admission is a bargain in that it is free.  BDN Premium has an article on Quincy Miller due shortly where we get the latest from the prospect.  So, stay tuned to BDN whose history of covering the event is well known.