Three Beginning To Stick Out For Top Big Man

The nation’s top ranked center sits down with TDD to discuss Duke’s recruiting interest, his conversations with Coach K, his AAU season, and the next steps he’ll take toward making a college decision.

How did Peach Jam go for you and the team?

Marques Bolden: It went pretty well, we came up short and that wasn’t how I planned for us to end up, but it was cool. The end is coming fast, I don’t know how to really take it because I was just playing 14s and 15s a few years ago.

When you were playing 14s and 15s—did you ever imagine you would get to the point where you are now with the rankings and your recruitment being where it is?

No, no I didn’t. I didn’t really think of the future then, I just thought about what was going on then with the here and now. Now I think about the future more.

As you think about the future now more and more, what are the things you’re considering?

It’s cool, I really like think a lot about the future now than I did before. I just try to think about what’s the best situation for me for the next level.

When thinking about that, what are the main factors you’re exploring?

Really just to become successful in everything I do and learning how to be successful as a person on and off the court. I also think about what school best fits my style of play.

With basketball and style of play—what are you looking for?

I really like to get up and down, I can run better than most of the centers that play the game, like the traditional centers. I really just like to get up and down and run and while I don’t just setup a lot in the post in the halfcourt, I can do that too.

Position in college—are you a center at that level or do you envision a different role?

I envision more of a 4, I don’t think I’m a true 5 guy, like a traditional center.

Are there college programs that you feel do a really good job with bigs like you with the way you hope to play?

Really schools like Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke does a really good job too with their bigs because they don’t just play on the block all the time.

How did you come to having that viewpoint about Duke?

Just watching them play over the years, I really didn’t know much about the program. I started watching them this year and I just really liked what they did and how they were successful, I liked how they did stuff. I always watched them but I never really paid attention to the stuff that I did this past year like with how I liked their style of play and what they did with their bigs. I always liked watching them play. I noticed how much their bigs touched the ball last year, how many plays off the bigs they did which was cool. How they allowed them to play freely and stretch the floor with everything.

What did you like about watching Duke play in general before you started really studying them last year?

Their tradition of winning they had, they are so, when you think Duke you just think successful. When you hear about Duke, it’s almost always something good about them that you hear. They know how to get people to the pros, you rarely hear anything bad about Duke.

What kind of things has the Duke staff been saying to you in your talks with them?

They’ve been basically say the same thing as a staff, how I would fit in their system and how they would use me. I’m going to be asking them about what kind of role they see me in, they probably see me as a four or a five, but it’s kinda interchangeable in their program.

How has the communication been with the Duke staff since the Spring?

Of course it’s been increasing. Their whole staff has been coming to the games, so it’s definitely increasing. I just want to take it easy and see how things go. I’ve been talking with Coach K and a couple of the assistants, well, all of them really. Coach Scheyer, Coach Capel, Coach James. Sometimes each coach will say a little bit of everything—they don’t say the same thing every time.

Any examples of that?

Like I’ll be talking with Coach Capel and he’ll be talking about a team thing with basketball or I’ll be talking with Coach James and he’ll talk about more individual stuff and how they develop their bigs and Scheyer talks with me about keep on improving.

Have they discussed recruiting plans with you yet regarding your class or the class after you?

No, they haven’t talked about that.

What kind of feedback or questions have you and your family had so far for the Duke staff?

We haven’t thought about that yet, we’re just going to take it easy and go through the process. We’re going to really start stepping it down this week and next week. We’ll be looking at style of play and really seeing if I can be successful on and off the court at schools and how they use and develop their bigs.

Is a part of that process figuring out upcoming visits too?

Yes. We don’t have a plan yet, I’ll take my official visits sometime in the fall.

Are you leaning towards taking all five available official visits?

Yeah, most likely all 5 but I don’t know for sure. You definitely want to use all 5 just to see which one is the best. I don’t want to jump to conclusion with any one school.

If you setup five officials—is there any extra importance for you with which program hosts you for your first official visit or your last?

No, it’s really no order. We definitely want to do some in-home visits too, probably somewhere around August/September.

Have there been any programs that have asked for you and your family to visit them during a specific time period yet?

Yeah, Kentucky asked me to come down for their Midnight Madness thing, that’s about the only one who has asked for a visit on a certain date.

Sounds like everybody else has just been saying we’d love to host you for a visit when the schedule works for you and your family…

Yeah, that’s what it’s been so far.

Since it sounds like the ball is in your court to decide what schools to visit next—are there any for you and your family that it’s really important to setup visits to next?

Kansas, Duke and Kentucky—those would be 3 of the 5 visits. I’ll probably do officials first with Kentucky and Duke mainly because they are so far away. I could do un-officials to Kansas because it’s like 6 hours away. Considering with Kentucky and North Carolina being farther away as states—I don’t think I would do an unofficial there first.

With the Kentucky and Duke official visits—is it more important to you to do them during the basketball season, or do you prefer just go down for a weekend once school has started but maybe basketball season hasn’t started yet?

Mainly during the basketball season so I could get a feel for what I’d be doing. I haven’t confirmed anything yet.

Outside of Kentucky, Kansas and Duke-are there any other programs that it’s important for you to take an unofficial or official visit to?

No, not really. I’m going to see about the other two visits-but mainly it’s those schools.

Do you see yourself leaning towards deciding in the early signing period—or waiting until the April signing period next year?

Probably the late signing period—we don’t know for sure. We have to see really if I can be successful at that school and also see what I want to major in. It’s definitely a big deal also to see which guys go pro because that’s the main goal.

Do you think it’s important for you to go to college for one year and then go pro, or are you leaning towards being a multi-year player in college?

I don’t know, I just have to see what type of year I have.

I know you mentioned earlier that the coaches haven’t done a huge amount of talking with you about their recruiting efforts in your class—is that something that you and your family are looking at yourselves?

Yeah that’s really important and it’s a big deal because you want to like the guys that you are playing with. That’s a big deal.

Are there any friends of yours that you say to yourself that I’d really like to play with him in college?

Yeah, I’ve been talking with De’Aaron Fox, we haven’t decided anything though, we’ve just been talking about schools recruiting us.

Is there anybody in your class that it’s intriguing to you to think about potentially playing with?

No, I haven’t thought about it.

How do you feel about programs that are recruiting you and other bigs in the same class?

It’s real important because I don’t want to go to a school where they already have like three or four bigs. I’ve looked at their rosters to see who may be leaving and you can’t really be sure with everything who might be leaving, but it’s still good to take a look at the rosters.

Based on that research so far—who do you think presents a favorable roster situation for what you are looking for?

Probably Kentucky or Kansas. They are going to be losing people at my position. Kentucky will probably be losing Skal, so they won’t have anybody like me in the post. Kansas they are losing Perry Ellis and a few guys, so they are going to need somebody to come in.

What are your thought process towards Kentucky and Kansas and how they utilize and develop their bigs?

I think they both do a great job at developing their bigs at my position. They also do a good job at preparing them to get to where they want to go.

What’s your thoughts towards the potential roster situation at Duke—have you looked at that as closely as you have with Kentucky and Kansas?

I think they have a good roster right now with the addition of Derryck Thornton and Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard. That’d be a good fit too but I don’t know for sure. I haven’t looked too closely at their bigs yet. Kansas and Kentucky have really talked with me a lot about their bigs and roster. Duke hasn’t talked much about that, but I plan to learn more about that. We’ll be asking them that soon, we’re going to.

Are those the major questions you have for the Duke staff—or are there others?

Really just how they would use and develop me into a better player.

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