Devils Warming to 2005 Combo Forward?

One of the bigger debates surrounding the class of 2005 is just exactly where does 6-foot-7, 220 pound Fairfax High (Calif.) standout forward Jamal Boykin fit in at the next level. Some say he's a small forward, others insist he can play inside. The one thing everyone agrees on is that you'd be hard pressed to find a kid who works harder.

"I've heard a lot of people have trouble describing me," says Jamal Boykin. "But I'm a power forward who can step outside. My game is about working a big guy inside and then taking him out."

Expected to be rated as a four star prospect by the end of the summer, Boykin started the spring AAU season strong with a 28 point, 14 rebound performance in the championship round of the Las Vegas Easter Classic. Since then he's seen his stock gather momentum as some of the nation's more elite programs have come calling.

"I'm hearing from a lot of schools right now, but my top two are Louisville and Georgia Tech. Illinois is also right there. All three of those schools have offered me a scholarship at this point."

While Boykin has been offered by those three, in the end he's still waiting to hear more from his childhood favorite.

"If Duke offered, they'd be on top. I love the ACC and I have loved Duke since the 6th grade. When I was younger they were my favorite team and I would have chosen them in a heartbeat. It was kind of like having a crush on a girl. I love the way they play, and the way they have a special kind of team unity."

While the Blue Devils have not offered at this point, they did send assistant Steve Wojciechowski out to watch Boykin in action recently. Duke has also maintained regular contact with his father.

"They've told me that Coach K will be watching me play soon, and they keep up with my dad as much as they can. We'll just have to see what happens there."

While his list is far from finalized, Boykin knows exactly what he's looking for in a college program.

"I want to go somewhere that will help prepare me to get to the NBA, but I also want to go somewhere that will prepare me for a great job if the NBA doesn't work out. I'd also like to go somewhere that the coach has a plan for me and can help me get better."

Boykin, who is an honor student in the classroom, admits there are things that need work when it comes to his game, however he's already taking steps to remedy those.

"In the games that aren't close I am working on my three point shooting and taking my man off the dribble. I know at the next level I need to have those things working for me."

As a junior Boykin averaged 19.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game for Fairfax, while helping his team to the Division One Championship. Perhaps the most amazing statistic from his junior campaign was his shooting percentage from the field – an astounding 78% from the floor over the course of the season.

Stay tuned to TDD for more on Boykin and other emerging Duke targets in the class of 2005 and beyond.

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