Jamal Boykin's List At Six

Sometimes a prospect has to work a little bit harder to catch the eye of the program he wants. That may mean more hours in the gym, but in the end it usually leads to a shot at earning a chance to play where you want. That's the plan for one of California's better rising senior prospects.

Last weekend at the annual Pangos Camp in California, there was the usual buzz surrounding those prospects that have secured a front row seat in the hype machine. However one of the better performances came from 6-foot-7 225-pound big forward Jamal Boykin.

"I thought I played really well at the camp," said Boykin. "It gave me a chance to show off different parts of my game. I was able to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket, step back and hit threes, and show off my passing ability. The camp was about the same as all the tournaments as far as competition went, but I still had a good time."

Boykin's on the court performances included strong rebounding performances each time out, but the thing that caught the eye of most people was his work ethic and improved game. As TheInsiders.com's national recruiting director Dave Telep wrote:

The guy is getting it done. Not only is he working during the games, but he's consistently working out in between sessions as well. It seems like Boykin understands his strengths, has improved some weaknesses and is ready to compete all the time. He dropped a jump hook in an afternoon game that frankly we had no idea he carried in his bag of tricks. A thread-the-needle bounce pass in another evening game was also big time. [LINK]

That kind of on the court effort is echoed when the rising senior is questioned on his overall philosophy of the game.

"Basically I just go out there each time and do the best I can. I'll score if my team needs it, but I really like to just put in the time and out work my opponents on both ends of the floor. That's my main objective each time out – I want to be the guy everyone says is the hardest worker."

And all the hard work is apparently paying off as Boykin has cut his list down to an elite list of six potential suitors. Those half dozen include Duke, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Illinois, Louisville, and Pittsburgh, though it will shrink dramatically before he begins looking at visits.

"I know I came out and said it was at five and would stay there, but Pittsburgh just came in and offered me this week. Also Louisville has signed a lot of guys at my position recently so that's something to think about as well. Basically I think when it comes time, I'll narrow my list to three. I mean I don't understand the guys who take all five visits – after the three you've got to know."

While he's not ready to declare a leader, Boykin is quick to admit that he grew up a fan of the Blue Devils and wouldn't mind realizing a childhood dream of playing for Coach K and company.

"I've been down there twice actually. I love the campus, the gym, and the whole area. I first had a chance to visit Cameron when DeMarcus [Nelson] committed -- we played AAU ball together for two years, and when he went up to meet with Coach K in the office I had Cameron to myself. I don't know what it was, but I hit something like 17 straight shots and just had a terrific workout in that place. My coach couldn't believe it how on I was that day."

In hopes of reliving that day many times over, Boykin has already begun an attempt to schedule an official visit to Durham in the fall.

"I'm trying to get an official set up with them in September, but we'll have to see how that goes with the details getting straightened out."

As a junior Jamal helped lead Fairfax to a state title. He averaged 19.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, and just under three blocks per game. Most amazing was his field goal percentage of 76.7% from the field (174-of-227), and 75% free throw mark (81-of-108).

Quotable Q-n-A:

What in your game needs to improve?

"I need to work on my perimeter defense. During practices my coach keeps me on the defensive team as much as he can, and it gives me a chance to check the guards on the team. That also helps my footwork on the offensive side of the ball because I get quicker."

What do you see as your role as a freshman wherever you end up?

I think I'm a guy that can bring whatever the team needs. At the more elite programs like Duke, they don't need a freshman to come in and score a bunch of points. They need someone to come in and battle – to rebound and defend. Those are my strengths.

Describe yourself away from the court

Sometimes I just put too much on my plate. I love being involved in things, and I have a passion for the arts. I wrote and performed in a play that got shown in a theater near our school, and have acted in five of them to date. I also really love painting and drawing. It's like my own personal escape from the world, aside from basketball.

Also I'm the youngest of four kids. My brother plays basketball at Northern Arizona and both of my sisters have already graduated from college, so I have a lot of people to look up to. Being the youngest of four has allowed me to develop a sense of humor, and I think I'm a pretty funny guy.

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