4-star Leonard checks out Clemson

One of the state's top prep basketball players was in Clemson Saturday to take in the football game against Boston College.

Damien Leonard, a 2011 shooting guard/small forward, has received around a dozen offers from basketball powerhouses across the nation. From Greenville's J.L. Mann HS, Clemson is right down the road from the Scout.com four-star and No. 8 rated shooting guard for the 2011 class.

CUTigers caught up with Leonard Monday night to see how the visit went.

"It was a nice trip. It was a little rainy but it was alright," he said.

Leonard headed back to Greenville shortly after halftime. But he's been no stranger to the Clemson campus lately with several visits already under his belt.

CUTigers asked, Having been to Clemson several times, what are some of the things that you like about Clemson?

"The Coach-Oliver Purnell," he said.

Leonard didn't see Purnell on Saturday, who was on vacation in Charleston, but raves about the relationship they have.

"All the times I've talked to him, it's like I've known him forever, like I've known him for a long time," he said.

He's thinking about visiting Wake Forest and Florida for football games this fall, but doesn't have a list of exact dates and schools that will get a visit. He also doesn't claim a list of favorites.

"I'm just wide open and having fun with the recruitment process," Leonard said.

The decision will come sometime during the summer before his senior year.

His offers include Clemson, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Kentucky, Florida, Miami, Georgia Tech, Texas and Villanova. Kansas and Tennessee could be through soon with theirs.

Leonard does know what he's looking for at the next level.

"Style of play, the academics, coaching staff and making sure I'm comfortable with all the people and comfortable at the school," he said.

The style of play he likes is a running the floor, fast-paced kind.

Does that Clemson style go along the lines of what he likes to do?

"Yes, sir, it does," Leonard said.

Once basketball season starts, he could take visits to Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kentucky and Florida.

He's been working with Carolina Cougars AAU coach Willis Holiday since he was in the 7th grade.

"He came as a post player and we converted him to a shooting guard and point guard now," Holiday said. "That's what our whole goal was, converting him from a point guard to a shooting guard.

"We want to capture the nation's attention of him being one of the best shooters in the country and I think we have done that as well."

Leonard's taking 250-300 shots daily as part of his workout regiment.

In high school, his role is to get open and shoot 3's.

"They want to run screens for him because he's got a quick release, a high release," Holiday said."

In AAU ball, Holiday plays Leonard at point guard.

Holiday said Leonard has the ability to get to the rim and score. It's just a matter of the system that he's in.

"Damien is a great kid so he's not going to fuss about anybody's system," Holiday said. "If you play him in that post he'll go play in the post and never say anything…he will do whatever you ask of him and not question why you've got him there."

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