Rodney Purvis: Man, those Cameron Crazies, they are absolutely the craziest, most loyal fans I've ever seen. It's just a lot better in person to experience, and they just keep getting better and better each time I go to a game. They were even chanting my name during the game, which is always cool. There's so many great players that have played on that court before them, so for them to chant my name when I haven't even played a game of college basketball, it's just an honor to be honest.
Where were your seats?
We got to sit right behind the Duke bench, like right next to where the managers sat. It was really awesome. We were close enough to watch plays get drawn up, you could see all the players were on the same page in the huddle. Coach K was real emotional and passionate in the huddle and also just coaching during the game.
What was your reaction to K's coaching style?
For me personally coaches like Coach K are really good because they get their point across in a good way that's going to make you better as a player. I know for me I've got a long way to go as a player to get better to accept criticism, and I know with Coach K, the way he coaches, it can only help me get better. He just lets his guards play, and they get better and go to the NBA.
Where there things about Duke's style of play that stood out?
There was a lot of things that I noticed. I was watching the whole team play, and they were doing a lot of great things on the court, but I was really watching how Kyrie and Nolan were playing. I tried to pay attention to what they were doing on the court, and I noticed how the ball was in their hands a lot. They were creating for their teammates and themselves and I was watching them in how they guarded guys too. I've been hearing a lot about Duke's style of offense from talking with other people like players and coaches, and I could really learn a lot from watching them play together as a team against another team. It was different from watching them scrimmage each other. The coaches have been telling me that their guards get out and play and have freedom, and after watching this game, I've got a great impression of how Duke uses their guards.
As a guard, how did you relate to what you saw from Kyrie and Nolan?
I really saw how comfortable they were with the offense, how they got to play with the ball in their hands they created. I've been able to find out for myself by talking with Kyrie and Nolan and watching them play how they get put in a position to score and make plays by Coach K. You can just tell that the freedom they have on the court makes the whole team better.
In your discussions with Kyrie and Nolan, what's their general message for you?
I talk a lot with Kyrie. He's told me about the expectations and things that Coach K has had for him since he started recruiting him, and now that he's at Duke. It's exciting to see what the team is doing on the court together. It seems like Coach K has the same expectations for me as a player that he does for Kyrie, and that's something we've talked about.
How are the expectations similar or different?
I know Coach K has told me how he felt about me as a person and as a player in the times we've been able to spend time together. He's communicated very clearly to me what he thinks about me as a player, what I can work on as a player, and what the expectations would be if I played for him at Duke. He told me I would have the ball in my hands like Kyrie has the ball in his hands and he knows some ways that I can get better as a player so I can accomplish my dreams and help the team win games.
He's also told me about how Duke can make me into a man, and I'm just really comfortable with Coach K and the whole situation at Duke, I mean, Coach K has the resume to prove it. I look at Kyrie, he was Top 5 in the country, and he's one of the best guards in the country and Coach K told him that he could come in, and he'd let him play and they would be successful and he'd be able to create for his teammates. All that seems to be coming true from what I've seen, and I know Coach K has been saying some of the same things to me.
Let's switch gears and head down Tobacco Road and talk about UNC. It's been reported they are going to be ramping up their interest in you. Has that happened?
Ever since I re classified to the 2012 class they have been showing some more interest. I know some of their assistant coaches have called and they have watched me play too. Coach Williams hasn't really gotten involved too much, but I don't expect UNC to get involved too much right now because the season is starting and I know the coaches are working on making the team better, just like all the staffs are of the schools that are recruiting me. I don't expect to hear a whole lot from the head coaches of schools, it's the assistants job to recruit me during the season, if head coaches want to talk with me, that's great, but I understand if they don't.
You've mentioned being a UNC fan growing up, how does that affect things for you with UNC recruiting you now as a player?
That's one thing I do try to separate, because at the end of the day, I'm making my decision based a lot on how schools utilize their guards. What kind of style they play and where I have a chance to help me further my dreams. It doesn't matter what school I grew up watching. I'm really looking to go to a place where I feel loved, not just liked and to me, any coach who is taking the time out regularly to see me play and work on the relationship with me and my mom and coach, then I appreciate that and can tell they have love for me as a person and player.
From your perspective, how would you classify UNC's recruitment of you?
I definitely do feel like they like me as a player, but I would say that there are other schools that are really showing a lot of love to me right now as a person and player.
I'm definitely feeling a lot of love from schools like Xavier, Wake Forest, Duke, Texas, Kentucky, Louisville, those schools seem to be making a concentrated effort to get to know me and my family better.