Poythress' Plan Includes Duke

The Blue Devils will look to bring in a pair of post players in the class of 2012. One of those players, however, could be more of a 3/4 hybrid in the Blue Devil system. That's where Tennessee prospect Alex Poythress comes in.

"Right now there are a lot of schools recruiting me," said Clarksville (Tenn.) Northeast standout Alex Poythress. "I'm hearing from a number of coaches every day by mail and phone. It can be a lot to take in, but I'm just trying to stay focused and not buy into all the hype."

At 6-foot-8 and 200 pounds, Poythress is considered the nation's No. 2 small forward and a top 15 prospect overall according to Scout.com. He is described as an athletic wing player with exceptional bounce and the ability and willingness to pull the trigger from the perimeter. Defensively and on the glass, he's got the potential to be dominant at times thanks to his length and athleticism.

Which is why a number of schools have already offered scholarships or made their initial contact.

"Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Miami, Duke, Kentucky, UConn, Ohio State, Syracuse, Marquette, Memphis, Purdue, Texas, Cincinnati, and Louisville, off the top of my head. There are a lot of schools in there, and I'm not cutting it down at this point. It's early."

As time passes, however, Poythress says he'll sit down with his family and his high school coach to start discussing his options. Outside of the counsel of his AAU coaches, the five star prospect doesn't see many chances for other influences.

"Honestly it's easy to talk to my family about this kind of stuff. I am focusing on what the coaches are saying, but I also want to know what my family is thinking about what's being said. I've known my high school coach since I was in fourth grade and he's always there to help motivate me. He tells me that if I work hard I'll be able to achieve everything I want. If I keep pushing, my goals will take care of themselves."

Part of excelling during the summer has to do with playing against the best players in the country. Which is why Poythress made the commitment to play for the Georgia Stars AAU squad in 2011 despite the distance.

"We play enough together so practicing isn't a huge deal for us all the time. Coach Parker called up and asked me this winter if I would be interested in playing for them. With them being a Nike team I knew they'd be in the Nike Summer League, which was important for me to participate in this summer. We have a really good chemistry and I think we feed off each other when we get going on the court."

Returning to the concept of recruiting, Poythress has popped up on the Blue Devil recruiting radar as Spring has begun to creep into early Summer. As he continued to mount impressive performances from the AAU circuit, the interest from Durham seemed to pick up.

"Coach James talked to me a lot about Duke early on and since then I've had a chance to talk to Coach K a few times. He was different in his approach because he talked to me about my game in terms of my strengths and weaknesses. That was a little different, but it was also refreshing in a way. To have a coach talk to you about your game and not try to sell you was nice. It lets you know there's still things to improve on."

What to work on includes a general "everything" according to Poythress, though he admits he'd like to get more consistent with his jumper and improve his midrange game as well. And during his summer progressions he'll start to look at schools more and more closely before moving forward.

"Right now I'm going to try and keep talking to all the coaches before taking my official visits. Once I finish with those I'll try to make a fall decision."

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