Inside The Game Of Jamal Boykin

TheDevilsDen's Clint Jackson takes a look at the game of 6-7 Jamal Boykin of Fairfax Senior (Calif.). The combo forward will suit up for the Blue Devils next season, and here's what to expect....

First of all, we'd like to offer the disclaimer that we haven't seen Jamal Boykin as much as we've seen Josh McRoberts, Greg Paulus or even Eric Boateng -- but we did spend quite a bit of time evaluating the combo forward in the NBA Players Camp setting last summer, and here are our notes on him.

One of the first things that we noticed about Boykin is that he's no stranger to taking charge. On a squad with many players that he didn't know (and some with much bigger offensive reputations) Boykin assumes the role of a leader. Barking out instructions, calling screens, switches and encouraging his teammates seemed instinctive for the 6-7 forward from California. He assumes the role and it comes naturally.

Quite often the top talents from the West Coast are labeled soft by the national analysts, but this isn't the case in regards to Boykin.

He's definitely an effort guy. A blue collar guy. A hard worker. Whether it's moving his feet trying to stay in front of an athletic slasher or fighting for position in the paint with a lumbering center. He's versatile enough to be used on a few spots in the rotation. Especially defensively.

Boykin, over the course of the week, was NOT the most offensively gifted player on his team, but he was definitely the team's best defender and hardest worker on the boards. We think he'll help out at Duke mainly at the 3 and 4 slots, and should be able to defend positions 2-5 in a pinch. He's got long arms and pretty cut physique and he's much further along physically than a lot of his peers. Appears to be about 215 pounds and strong.

On offense, he reads the defense well and faces and shoots very well. He likes to nail the 12-17 footers when the defense gives him space. His slash to the basket game was an area that he never really showed and perhaps it was because he isn't the fleetest of foot with the ball in his hands or that he simply has more confidence in his jumper at this point in his career. We'll leave that book open.

In Jamal Boykin, Duke fans can expect a competitive kid who's vocal, pretty athletic (not Corey Maggette) that can shoot the ball, rebound and defend the other team's best players -- whether they're a 6-4 wing guard or a 6-9 power forward.

He's driven and focused and has the intangibles and savvy to be a contributor off the bench as a freshman. We firmly believe that he'll be a four year player under Mike Krzyzewski and that his work ethic and versatility will prove to make him a valuable part of the Duke basketball program for the next four years.


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