One on one with D.J. Harvey

One of the top wing prospects in the class of 2017, D.J. Harvey, has an elite list of suitors following a strong summer. We sat down with the five star small forward to discuss his list, how he'll narrow it down, and which schools are standing out early.

First off, how do you feel the spring and summer went for you?

D.J. Harvey:  I think it went really well. I got better each session I went to and I felt like I was able to add to my game in some areas that I was struggling with before then and got better at bringing it at each level. All in all I’m really glad with how it went but I can always do better.

What in particular do you think you grew the most in with those areas you mentioned that you were struggling with before the summer ?

I definitely improved with the mental aspects of my game and I also improve with my ball handling and my outside shooting. Also just learning how to not force anything.

Which camps or tournaments do you feel were the most helpful for you with your development this spring and summer ?

Probably the Top 100 in Virginia and the Nike Academy out in LA. Both camps they had seminars that were two hours long. At NBA Camp they had speakers came in and talked to us about the dos and the don’ts and how to work on what you hoped to do in life. At the Nike Camp they had NBA guys there like James Harden, Kevin Durant and depending on your position, they’d come in and talk to you and break down their game for you. They showed you that kind of stuff from their game so you could incorporate that into your game. 

What kind of feedback did you get from the NBA guys at the Nike event?

Definitely change of pace, get to your spots and don’t really listen to outside critics. They talked about making sacrifices as well.

Did you build a friendship with any of the NBA guys that were there?

Yeah definitely. Stanley Johnson, Kevin Durant, he’s from the DC area so I talked to him. Victor Oladipo, Tristan Thompson, that’s a few of them that I’ve become close with. With Victor and Stanley I met them as high school and college players and while I knew they would go far, it was cool to see them as pros. When I met the others it was like I was star-struck just getting the opportunity to meet them and talk with them. When I was talking with Kevin he was telling me what he did to be where he is right now and he talked about the sacrifices that he made as a kid to get him where he is now, so that really stuck with me. 

How did you feel about how the recruiting process went for you this summer?

Oh yeah most definitely, I was really blessed and I’m enjoying the recognition that I have right now and how i’m getting better at this young age.

Do you have a particular approach to how you are handling the recruiting process and the attention that comes with it?

Don’t let it get to my head, make sure it never gets to my head. I’m always thinking that I can never be satisfied and so does my dad. Also my dad keeps me out of the loop so he makes sure I can be me and can make sure that i’m always in the gym working.

Is it fair to surmise that the early opinions are being formulated through his filter?

Really I’m shaping my own opinion because at the end of the day I’m the one who will be making the decision on where I’m going to school. It’s helpful to have a dad like he is who thinks who has wisdom and experience and maturity.

June 15th has come and gone—what kind of plan did you have for how you personally were going to handle all the phone calls and communicating with the coaches yourself?

That was a big day on my calendar for a long time. I remember last year when I was at the Nike Top 100 in St Louis, the upcoming juniors there were talking, they had the camp there through the 15th and so they got all these calls and I just remember that being my dream too. This past June 15th did me well. I knew it was going to be a big day and I was honored by the way it turned out.

Were there any college programs that you were really hoping to hear from on or after the 15th before the calls started ?

Yeah pretty much everybody. Every D1 institution.

Did the communication with all the programs exceed your expectations going in with what you guys discussed?

Pretty much everybody was calling me and my dad every day, it kinda exceeded what I really thought. I didn’t think there would be that many people calling me and my father and we were handling it. I definitely contact anybody because I don’t want to burn any bridges at this point and regret that later. I just reach out to everybody and I don’t have any favorites. Schools that are contacting me and showing me that they are interested in me and schools that I’m reaching out to, it’s a little bit of both.

Since you mentioned a difference there, can I ask which programs you yourself are contacting, separate from the programs that you are responding to as they contact you?

Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Texas, Villanova, UCLA, Cal, Maryland, Ohio State, that’s pretty much, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, NC State, Arizona State too, there’s a lot of them.

Do you notice a substantial difference with that list of schools with how they handle communicating with you, or would you say they all take a similar approach in that?

They all make sure to contact me at least once a day. 

What kind of approach are you taking with those programs in terms of questions you ask, dialogue you seek, feedback, etc? Is it really different program to program?

Well, say there’s a program that has had a bunch of pro players that have come out that I can relate to and see them in the NBA that I can reach out to and get references and all that kind of stuff. Usually I just make sure to reach back to them whenever they call or text and I just get back to them and talk to them.

Is that a major factor in your decision making process what the track record is with the various programs of who has gone pro from their program?

Oh yeah, most definitely. How many pros have they put into the league and how do I feel that they can help me achieve my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA, that’s a big factor is their recent track record with that.

How far back are you looking when evaluating the track record of the programs producing NBA talent?

At least several years, four or five. 

With that—are you looking specifically at their track record of producing wings and guards into the NBA, or is more looking at the total picture of all the players who went pro from each program?

My position, 1, 2 and 3, how they produce guards and bigger guards.

Wing positions at the 2 and 3 can be utilized in different ways depending on the program—is that a perception you have?

Yeah, coming into it they will tell me what kind of position they would like me to play. I think I’m very versatile so it doesn’t matter what position they put me in, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to play 1 through 4. 

With the programs you listed earlier—how much have you already watched them on TV or in person specific to guys at your position?  Have you looked that closely yet ?

Yeah and most of those schools have developed everybody at my position. All of those schools have put out a lot of wings, guards and I feel very comfortable with those schools.

What are the next steps or factors since you feel comfortable with the wings and guards they have produced that you are looking at as you figure out how you feel about each program?

Whoever reaches out the most, whoever I feel I’m the most comfortable with, do I feel like I could go in and be a key factor. Also how close they are with my family and how my family feels about that program. That’s pretty much what I am looking for.

From a showing interest perspective since you mentioned looking at that, would you consider one or more of those programs as showing more interest than the other programs from the group you mentioned earlier?

They are all coming pretty heavy so there’s not really a big difference. If I were to name a couple I’d say Arizona, Duke, Maryland, Texas, NC State and Villanova, they make sure they reach out to me the most. They just make sure to reach out to me everyday. All their coaches really talk to me.

You also mentioned wanting to play a big factor, does that equate you to closely looking at projected depth charts, especially on the wing with the various programs?

Yeah if I can come in and play right away, definitely. Who they are recruiting, the players that are already there so I can feel like I can come in and play right away. I’m looking at my position really.

How much does a program recruiting you to be a 2 or a 3 in their system affect your consideration of them?

It’s all the same because I want to be a wing and they use the 2 and the 3 the same.

From a depth chart perspective—how crowded is too crowded in your evaluation of the different programs, especially at the wing spots?

More than 3 players at a position. 

Do you have a firm idea with all these programs how the projected depth charts are currently looking, or do you still have a lot of info to gather on that front?

Probably still more info to get because not everybody from 2016 is committed yet and that’s always a factor if they go to the League or not, especially at the position I want to play.

With wanting to make a big impact in college—is there a hoped-for vision for you with how long you want to spend in college before trying to go pro ?

As short time as possible but I wouldn’t leave unless I was a definite lottery pick. 

Are you and your dad taking a hard look at any visits coming up this fall?

Not right now, me and my dad aren’t really in a rush. 

Are there any programs that you feel it’s really important you take a visit to before your process is over?

Yeah I’ve already been out to Arizona and I want to make sure I get out to ACC, Big 10 and some of those big schools like Texas and others, things like that. I’ve visited most of them already. I do want to visit Duke, Louisville, Oklahoma, Cal, Ohio State, North Carolina, those types of programs. I’m pretty sure my dad has setup some visits in September for NC State, North Carolina, Duke, all those North Carolina schools, just to knock them out in September.

With looking at the three North Carolina schools for visits outside of the basketball season—what are you guys hoping to learn and experience while you are there?

They are there and those are some programs I’m really thinking about going to and I’m wanting to start checking those schools out, schools that I’m interested in. We’ll definitely do unofficial visits to the different schools I haven’t been to so I can see if I like the school and not waste an official if I don’t. 

You mind if I ask where you are in the process with Duke at this point?

I’m probably not going to cut my list down anytime soon, that’s pretty much where I’m at in general, still open. Duke is probably one of the last couple of offers.

Did Duke being one of the more recent offers—did that affect how they presented the offer to you?

They felt like they were saving the best for last and they definitely told me they really liked me. It made me feel good about myself with the offers and that all the hard work I’ve done has paid off with all the offers I have been given.

In the grand scheme of things is it a big deal to you as to the timing of the various offers that you have received?

Yeah every offer is a big deal because as long as I get a chance to go to college for free, I’m just honored really. 

With wanting to take your time with your process, is a formal plan of cutting down the list and other parts of the recruiting process still way off in the distance?

Yeah that’s way off, we don’t have any type of plan yet with that. Just really taking our time.

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