DeLaurier Recaps Visit; Ready For Next Season

Duke commit Javin DeLaurier recently made his last trip to Duke as a non-rostered player.  We had a chance to sit down with the four star power forward to discuss the trip, his senior year, and how he and his classmates are looking forward to getting started this summer.

How’s the senior year been going for you ?

Javin DeLaurier:  It’s been going great, everything is going well and I’m enjoying all my classes and enjoying my senior year as a whole. I’m taking AP Stats and Honors European History. Math isn’t my strongest subject I would say, but I really like Stats a lot. I haven’t talked with Duke about my AP Credits, it all depends on whether I want to take the test for my AP Stats class, so we’ll see.

Was AP Stats your first AP course?

No, I’ve actually taken AP Biology last year and I took the AP exam as well, so it’s not my first AP courses. A lot of schools had told me that I could take the class and then take the intro as well, then use it for your GPA since you would have a background in the course.

How does knowing you’re transitioning to Duke impact your approach in the final year of high school?

It’s amazing, such a relief and a huge weight off my mind. I’m really excited. It’s nice being able to sort of enjoy a sense of normalcy without having to worry about where I’m going to college. I talk with the coaches almost every day, stuff like that.

What did a typical workout look like for you this year, both on the court and in the weight room?

Weight room it depends, we’ll do upper body, lower body, core, stuff like that. In the gym we’ll do a lot of skill work with ball-handling and shooting. I did a lot of competitive stuff right before we started getting into team practices top, that was fun.

Where those practice drills done more at the request of the Duke staff, or was it normal team stuff that your high school coach ran?

Just high school coaches. What’s been nice is the coaches from Duke gave me some stuff they wanted me to work on sorta on my own, which was cool. It was stuff like developing my ball-handling a lot, that’s something we talked about a lot the last time I was there and just sorta being comfortable but also being able to be confident in my ability to get the ball from point A to point A in both the fast break and in the half-court, stuff like that.

That last visit to Duke before your more recent one, was that the first time the coaches had brought up those coaching/development points to you?

It wasn’t the first time we had talked about it, but we definitely dwelled on in it more that time than we had in the past. We were just actively talking when I was there for Countdown to Craziness about how comfortable Amile was with the ball and how the upperclassmen did a great job during that scrimmage. Coach told me that he would like to see me get comfortable to that point to where I could take the ball and just go and be confident with it.

What kind of specific ball-handling drills did they give you to work on during that time?

They didn’t give me specific drills to do, it was more they gave me tapes of practice and skill workouts and they told me to put a lot more time into doing stuff that they do there because they like it. So just on my own and outside of the practice, they just asked me to get in there and work on that stuff. They walked me through some recommendations, but the videos they sent weren’t specific to me, it was more team stuff to watch and then work on. I really learned about how my intensity needs to always be high from watching those videos.

Is Amile Jefferson the primary guy they point to in terms of player comparisons for you at Duke, or have they pointed to other guys as well?

We haven’t talked about in terms of comparisons a lot, with Amile in terms of comparisons they’ve said I’m a better shooter than he is while he’s a better ball-handler. In terms of comparing our style of play he hasn’t really done that.

You are widely regarded in your class for the motor that you have and how hard you play.  How would you characterize that high motor trait and how it’s applied in your game?

It just sorta comes from, really it comes from I’m very competitive and I haven’t been playing this high level of basketball for a really long time since I really didn’t start playing until after my freshman year. I really wasn’t very good then, so I learned that skill-wise I was way behind some of the guys I was playing against. So really I learned that my only chance then was if I worked my tail off. So then when my skill level started catching up with my motor, I just started playing with more confidence. Really though, you can always control how hard you play, even if your shot isn’t falling-you can always control your effort, that’s what I like about it.

With rebounding and defensive positioning, how do you see that working out in your game with having the high motor that you do?

I’m just really competitive, so with rebounding and defensively, I just want it a lot, every ball that comes off the glass, I just go get it. Then with defense, I absolutely hate it when my man scores on me, I get really upset—it’s really just a competitive drive that helps me combine that.

What are your thoughts on playing at a higher level at Duke and adjusting to playing there?

It’ll be an adjustment, I’m excited just because I have a lot of fun playing against higher competition like when I was at camps and playing AAU. I’m really excited for what that’s going to do for my game in terms of rising to the competition.

Let’s backtrack if we can to the Duke Countdown to Craziness visit you had back in October. What was it like for you going down there as a committed Duke recruit?

It was a different experience, it was really awesome. It was the first visit I was able to take where I wasn’t worried about thinking about what I liked about it, I wasn’t thinking about potential options, I was just enjoying being back home. It was great. I loved the fans there, it was crazy. People were just were coming up and asking for my autograph and my picture, it was just such a different atmosphere, it was great. In Cameron some of the Crazies were really funny and having a good time. It was a great experience, I really enjoyed it. I think the big part of it was the amazing atmosphere and I really was in disbelief that a year from then I knew that I was going to be there as a player and that I’ll be able to play in that kind of place, it was almost surreal. When you walk in there, it’s almost like it has a presence. You see all the retired jerseys from people who have played there and to be honest, it’s very humbling knowing that you are going to play on the same floor as some of those guys. Then you see the national championship banners and you realize just how great a place it is. When we were there for the Midnight Madness game, everybody went down which was great because my next youngest brother is a huge Coach K fan, so we got him then to sign his t-shirt, so he got a kick out of that. Everybody enjoyed it. For my mom and my dad they had been with me when I had gone on my prior visit, but my brother it was his first time going into Cameron, so he was excited to experience everything, it was cool.

We got there that visit and we had about 7 or 8 hours total between visiting and being at the game. We walked around and got to get some gear at the Team Shop, I finally was able to get a team hat which I was really excited about. We walked around campus some, got some food, just had a good time. We got to go back before the game and got to see the entire staff and see the locker room and the players, so it was great. The guys were excited to see me back then, and then the coaches, its awesome man, it’s like a really big family. We talked about the event of Midnight Madness there and how it’s changed over the years. Coach Scheyer was actually a part of the first group who had actually had Countdown to Craziness.

Which guys would you say are your favorite former Duke players, whether they have a player banner up in Cameron or not?

Well, my mom always liked Grant Hill and it was cool because when I was there he was actually there as well, so that was cool. Then Jay Williams, I know who he is because he’s an analyst now and he’s got my favorite number retired which I’m a little sad about having to find a new number, but it was awesome, those two guys were great players. Coach K was asking me when I was there for what number I was thinking about wearing next year and to be honest, I don’t have any idea. I’ve been thinking long and hard about it. I like maybe #11, that’s half of 22, but it’s retired. I like 1, I like 2, we’ll see what happens.

When it comes to current players, is there anybody you have really started developing a good relationship with?

When I was there, I spent a lot of time with all the guys while I was on the visit, they are all great guys. Grayson and Amile were my hosts then, so I got to spend a lot of time with them which was great. That was also my first time then getting to meet Jayson Tatum, so that was cool to put a face to face interaction together—that was cool. Jayson is a low-key dude, laid back and funny. We were excited about getting there next year and trying to put another banner up.

What kind of feedback did you get from Amile that has proven helpful?

He just said he has loved his experience there, he told me that obviously you have to work hard because the coaches expect a lot from you. You aren’t allowed to go out there and just have a bad day because you are the team that everybody circles on their schedules, but that’s kinda what you live for as a player.

Let’s talk your recent visit to Duke for their home game against UNC…

The trip back was long, but it was atmosphere down there so that was fun. I actually got to go with my granddad this time. It was his first time in Cameron. He’s been a big part of my process, he traveled with me around during the summer, it was just for him to come see where I’m going to play next year.

What was his thought process towards Duke during your recruiting process?

In terms of the recruiting process, my decision was my own. Both him and my parents told me that the entire time and they said they were there for advice, but the decision was there for me to make. He was really happy with my decision. 

What was his counsel as you got down to really deciding that Duke was where you wanted to go?

He said go where you can see yourself as a student if you didn’t or couldn’t play basketball and the decision you make you are going to have to live with for four years, so choose well he said.

When Duke and you started getting more serious, did the counsel change?  What was the focus?

Just all the different benefits of Duke really like playing for Coach K and that historic program and all the opportunities that it being such a great school provides away from the court. 

What did he think of experiencing Duke’s campus and the game atmosphere?

It was a different atmosphere for him. It was the first time he had seen a college basketball game live like that, I think he enjoyed it. We were all in the same spot with the other recruits there and he talked with the coaches after the game. Obviously we were all disappointed with the loss.  We also talked with Harry and Kevin a little bit, that was cool.

How different would you say this game experience felt compared to your other visits to Duke?

For a game like that, I had already seen the atmosphere for the NC State game and that was unreal, but I was totally unprepared for what was in store when I got out of the car and onto campus for the Carolina game. I walked outside and K-Ville was absolutely jumping outside and inside. Everyone’s seat was filled and it was so loud, it was totally amazing. I remember saying to myself, “oh my gosh, these people are amazing and I get to play for Duke Basketball next year, oh my gosh this is crazy.”

All the fans were really super friendly, they were just welcoming me to the Duke family and just saying they were excited for me to be there next year.

How about with the recruits who were there?

We were all talking about how excited we were with just looking around, the atmosphere there is just crazy, it’s unreal. The recruits didn’t really have any questions, we were just talking about their visit which everybody loved it. I got a good feel for everybody there. This was my second time getting to hang out with Harry (Giles) as well, we’ve also been in contact through social media and whatnot. He’s a really cool dude, I’m really excited to play with him next year and he’s a great player, obviously. I can’t wait to go against him in practice everyday and get better. 

Did he discuss how his physical rehab is going from his surgery?

Yeah, he said it’s going really well and it seems like everything is going really well and he should make a full recovery. 

You mentioned having time with the Duke coaches after the game, did you get any prior to it?

No, I had shown up pretty close to game-time. 

What were your impressions of the game and this year’s Duke team?

This year’s team, they fight man, they fight hard. It’s a short man rotation and they may have been a little tired, but they fight hard. Last night showed me definitely a little bit with rebounding wise and stuff like that, but they were there in the end and they never gave up. Last night we also talked a little bit about what we’re going to work in the off season, I’m going to be getting a workout plan from them and Coach Stephens to add more strength before I get there over the summer and otherwise they told me to keep working on the stuff they wanted me to like my ball handling, developing my jump shot and post moves and stuff like that. 

How much has the staff discussed expectations for next season for you? 

We haven’t really gotten into that. Redshirting has never been discussed and Coach has definitely said that no one spot is guaranteed, you have to compete hard for everything and playing time is on the table with that. 

You’ve mentioned before that you played a big role in just talking to fellow recruits…are you still doing that?

Yeah sometimes I’ll be in Marques (Bolden) ear because I know his decision is coming soon and I understand we have a bit of a situation now with our scholarship, so hopefully everything will work out with Amile applying for a medical redshirt, if he gets that and with Jack coming from Australia I believe we’ll be at 14 scholarships, so hopefully everything works out one way or another. We haven’t really talked about it with the coaches that much.

What are your thoughts overall thinking about the team that’s being assembled for next season?

I’m super excited. I think we’re going to be able to do special things next year.

With Amile possibly coming back on a medical redshirt next season, how do you feel about getting to play with and learn from him considering the Duke staff has discussed his similarities to you before?

It’s great, he’s someone I can learn from since that will be his fifth year there. He’s someone who can teach me the ropes.

When you and your granddad got to connect with the Duke coaches after their UNC game, what was the feedback like between you guys?

Little things. The rebounding margin was huge that night, Brice Johnson had double digit rebounds that night, so even if we had rebounded a little bit better we probably could have won that game.

What are your thoughts on all the media discussion about your team next year?

Obviously we are a highly ranked class so there’s going to be a lot of attention on us, but I think we’re going to be able to live up to it. We have to understand though coming in next year that there is going to be adjustment period for us, but I think we’re more than capable of being able to produce at a very high level and I’m super excited.

Have you firmed up what your summer plans are for getting to Duke and classes and all that ?

I’ll be there July 1st. I’m not sure yet what courses I’m going to start out with, but I’ll be there July 1st to get adjusted get into the offseason training program. 

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