In-State PF Hearing From Duke

It's not a secret. Duke needs to find a player who will clean up the boards and attack the rim from the painted area. So why not look down the road a bit to find one of 2012's most intriguing power forwards? In fact, the Blue Devils have done just that.

"Coach Nate James called and talked to me and started the recruiting process," said Tarboro (N.C.) power forward Montrezl Harrell. "He's a really good guy. Very straight forward with everything, and it is exciting to have a national program like Duke recruiting me."

Rated as a 4 star prospect by Scout.com, Harrell is described as the kind of player that many fans have longed for in Durham.

"He's a beast mode power forward who is always going 100 mph to make things happen," wrote Scout.com's Evan Daniels when evaluating Harrell. "He is strong, tough, and he's a freak athlete which allows him to dominate opponents down low. His skill set on the outside needs to catch up with his physical abilities, but he is very productive despite the size limitation."

That size limitation may be working itself out, however.

"Right now I'm 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds. I went to the doctor recently about my knee and he said the reason it hurts from time to time is that I'm still growing. I could end up around 6'9 or so they think."

While he may not yet have those two vertical inches when standing still, Harrell more than makes up for it when attacking the rim for rebounds or going for his latest highlight reel dunk. It's a combination of tremendous athleticism and a nasty streak that provides the driving force for a player who some scouts say "plays angry".

"I do think saying I play angry hits the nail on the head. When I step on the court I look across at my opponent and say 'This man isn't going to stop me. If he's going to be between me and my goal, then that's his problem'. I really like to battle for rebounds on both ends of the court and I love to block shots too. I'm out there to take the ball away."

"[My frame of mind] on the court really just comes from who I am. I was always taught to work hard and continue to out-work people. I watch a lot of great players and they are always working hard. I am always trying to put in work to improve myself."

That improvement has certainly caught the Blue Devils' attention who join a list of schools involved with Harrell including Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Clemson, and Miami. Duke, of course, is late to the recruiting party. But the Durham based staff isn't pitching their recent success or resting on their reputation.

"They are being up front with me. There are some other schools I really like who have been talking with me for a while. Duke didn't come in and try to say that I should like them just because they are Duke. They said they want to start recruiting me and to see where it goes."

With his high school season just wrapping up with a first round exit from the playoffs, Harrell says he has plenty to work on as the AAU season begins to heat up.

"I need to just keep working on everything, but I really want to improve my shot and my ball handling."

During his junior season Harrell averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks.


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