Boykin Enjoyed Duke Trip

After watching AAU teammate DeMarcus Nelson commit to Duke nearly three years ago, 6-foot-7, 225lbs power forward Jamal Boykin knew he also wanted to play in Cameron as a Blue Devil. Last week he got his first chance, as he took his official visit to Durham.

"It was just a great trip," said Jamal Boykin. "I learned so much about Duke that I didn't know. The only problem is that the trip made it harder for me to wait to get to college. I'm ready to go now."

Boykin arrived from Los Angeles eager to take in the sights and sounds of the Duke campus, in hopes of getting a better idea of how he'll adapt over the next four years. By the time he left to head to Philadelphia for the Gym Rats Midnight Madness, he was sure he'd made the right choice.

"Coach Wojo just told me to imagine myself as a college student while I was here, and that really helped. I saw the daily schedules for the team, and got a chance to see how things work. I was really impressed with the way they are so structured in everything they do. "

In particular Boykin was impressed with the off the court structure of the current team.

"I had a chance to talk to Mr. King, who is the academic advisor. It's a tough school, but I can handle that. He won't let us procrastinate on anything. He's so organized that we're forced to be organized as well, which is a really good thing."

After touring the campus, Boykin had a chance to meet up with several future teammates on the practice court for a number of pick up games.

"I think I played really well against the guys. I scored most of my points on offensive rebounds and posting up inside, but that's how you earn respect out there. I mean I'm just a senior in high school, and I wanted to compete. Anyone can score on a fast break or cherry pick, but you don't earn respect like that."

"I was really impressed with the way they all communicate on the court. At times Daniel would be bringing the ball up and would tell me "You've got to make that screen", or other players would call out defensive assignments, or switches. It's pick up and you can tell these guys love playing the game with each other. They have a great chemistry level on the court."

And while Boykin expected his future teammates to be good, he was surprised by one Blue Devil in particular.

"I had no idea Shavlik Randolph was that good. I mean he'd go inside, get the ball, throw a post move or two, and then dunk it. Then he got hot with his jumper. We played 14 games and there was no rebounding the ball when he put it up. It was through the bottom of the net. That guy is incredible."

Boykin wasn't the only future Blue Devil in attendance either as 6-foot-10 Delaware center Eric Boateng dropped in for his official visit on the second day. Immediately the two members of the class of 2005 hit it off.

"He's just like I thought he'd be. I'd seen him at all the events, but had never really talked to him all that much, but he's a really nice guy. He's always smiling and I think he's going to be very happy with his decision to attend Duke. We didn't get a chance to talk too much on the visit, but we caught up with each other in Philly."

So with his visit behind him, what are Boykin's impressions of his future home?

"I really got a better appreciation of life in the South and the North Carolina way of living. I can see why people love it so much. People down there are so friendly and there really is a lot of the Southern hospitality. It's really different from here in the city. Down there people listen to what you're saying, while in the city everything seems really mechanical. And they have a ton of greenery down there. We don't see too much of that around the city."

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