Boykin: "He Knows I Can Play"

While the Coach K saga enveloped the entire Blue Devil nation over the past few days, at least one recruit says he's not surprised that the Duke coach is staying put. And as far as he's concerned, that's just fine. After all, it gives him a real chance to live a dream.

"It's hard to believe, but everyone out here thought he was coming," says Jamal Boykin of Coach K's recent decision. "It was just so much money to offer anyone, and it seemed like nobody would turn that kind offer down."

While Los Angeles apparently had faith in the almighty dollar's power to lure the game's best coach across the country, Boykin says he's one of the few who believes that Krzyzewski is right where he belongs.

"Duke is where Coach belongs, and even though everyone talks about money, Coach K believes there are things that are more important. He puts a lot of value in those other things, and that's something I believe in as well. You can have all the money in the world, but that doesn't mean you're going to be happy."

And while Krzyzewski is now set at Duke for the foreseeable future, the 6-foot-7, 225 pound Boykin says he's focused on trying to realize his childhood dream of spending four years in Durham under Coach K's tutelage. To that end he's already set up an official visit.

"I don't know the exact date yet because of my school schedule, but I know it will be in September," said Boykin. "Coach called and talked to me a few days ago and we talked about everything. He told me that he doesn't offer scholarships over the phone, but I think that with me going on an official there's a good chance of that happening."

"When he called he said the way he recruits is to recruit as a coach who is coaching. I really like that approach," continued Boykin. "He told me that at Nike Camp he'll watch me play in two or three games and that he'll let me know what he thought I did well and what I need to work on, then we'll talk after I get home from the camp."

While many recruits have made the mistake of trying to force their game when the coach of their preferred program is in the gym, Jamal says that's not going to be a problem with him and the Duke staff in attendance.

"Coach told me not to do anything but play my game. He told me: ‘We know you can play, so just go out there and do your thing.' I think if I take that advice I can be successful this week at camp."

At 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, Boykin's game is all about hustle and work ethic. He's also able to face up and knock down mid range jumpers, and occasionally steps out to the perimeter. So where would he fit in on the Blue Devil roster? That's anyone's guess at the moment.

"Coach said that I remind him of Shane Battier because when he came to school he really didn't have a position. He told me to keep working on being both power and small forward so that I can do either when I get to school, no matter where I end up."

Despite Boykin's versatility and overall appeal to high major programs (he also has interest from Georgia Tech, Louisville, Arizona, Colorado State, Connecticut, Iowa State, Pepperdine, UCLA, UNLV, USC, and Washington), many recruiting analysts wonder aloud if the Los Angeles native would have a place on the Duke roster especially with the Blue Devils pursuing some of the bigger named prospects such as Tyrell Biggs and Jon Brockman, both power forwards.

"The way it was explained to me was that Duke will have seven players on the roster when I get to school, and four or five of them will be seniors. They already have a group of commitments and have three more scholarships to give out, so there's room if I earn it."


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