Rising CA PF Loves Duke

With jumping to the NBA before completing four seasons at the college level becoming more of the rule than the exception, it's important for the nation's more elite programs to recruit players that work hard and are likely going to improve each and every year. One of those players on the Duke radar has seen his stock begun to rise.

"Right now the schools showing the most interest are Boston College, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, and Georgia Tech," says Los Angeles Fairfax (Calif.) combo forward Jamal Boykin. "Both Coach Pitino and Coach Hewitt have visited my schools recently."

Standing 6-foot-7 and tipping the scales at nearly 230 pounds, Boykin has established himself as one of the class of 2005's hardest working and most coachable players. That reputation has carried over into heavy interest from a number of top programs including Jamal's childhood favorite Duke.

"I love everything about Duke and have since around the sixth grade," said Boykin. "I love how Coach K gets so many talented players to play together as a team. I mean they have guys who could average 30 points averaging 11 points or so in order to make the team better. Aside from that there's the tradition and the fans who are just…crazy."

The Blue Devils are certainly becoming more aware of Boykin's performances on the AAU circuit, and though he's never had a chance to speak with head coach Mike Krzyzewski directly, Boykin is looking forward to that conversation.

"He came out and watched me play in Vegas, and it was like a rock star was in the building. He's just got that kind of presence, and he's the best at picking players who fit into his system. I am supposed to talk to him pretty soon I think."

While watching Jamal in action, Krzyzewski probably noticed that the Fairfax standout resembles former Duke great Shane Battier with his ability to battle inside at the power forward position, and his perimeter shooting ability. While he's heard the Battier comparisons before, Boykin says there's another Blue Devil great he tries to emulate.

"I think my offense has a lot of Shane's style of game in it, but I like to think there's some of Elton Brand in me as well. I like to battle inside like he did. When I play for my high school team I have to play in the paint, but I can step out and knock down the perimeter shot or take my man off the dribble. I guess you can say I'm also a guy who likes to do the dirty work."

While many Duke fans would love to get a chance to see Jamal in action, it won't happen at this month's Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions despite reports to the contrary.

"I was supposed to be there, but that's not going to happen now. I've got a school function that I can't miss, but I will be at the NBA Camp, Nike, and Big Time in Vegas."

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