2012's Jefferson Enjoyed Duke Elite Camp

Perhaps the primary benefit of the first annual Duke Elite Camp was for underclassmen to get an inside look at the Blue Devil hoops program. One such player was 2012's Amile Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 combo forward who is considered among the top players in his class.

"It was a great trip for me," said Amile Jefferson of his visit to Durham. "I got back on Sunday night and it took me a few days to really kind of process what all I had seen and heard. To meet the players, the coaches, and to see the facilities really gave me an idea of what Duke is all about."

Like most players in the class of 2012, the recruiting process is merely finding its way into Jefferson's path. Because of that, the talented forward says events like the camp are a good way to get his feet wet and learn about what's coming down the pipe.

"I'm really new to the whole process, and this is my first year really getting any kind of exposure. I had a really good summer and that's been great, but it's also showing me what the process is all about. I get a ton of letters and I've visited a few schools locally like Temple and Saint Joes. Both of them offered me as a freshman. But, overall, I'm more worried about continuing to improve and grow at this point."

In short, Jefferson says he's not satisfied with his early success and has seen many a good player cut their work ethic. Often times, he says, those players are the ones you never hear from again - a path he doesn't want to follow.

"This is just my first year of really moving up in competition. Some guys peak really early and that's it. I want to keep working to refine my game and become a better player. It's about how much time you are willing to put in, even when you don't really feel like getting the work in. At some point you have make a choice. I'm lucky because I have a great support system around me, and that's a big plus."

Auditing the players' work ethic was a big part of the counselor's overall message to the various campers as they spent time in Durham. For Jefferson, the opportunity to meet some of the former Duke greats as well as head coach Mike Krzyzewski was worth the trip alone.

"Coach K had dinner with several of us and we just talked about basketball and life in general. He gave us a lot of advice and pointers about how we play, and the things we need to improve on. With me he talked about correcting my shooting technique. He also told us about not making excuses when faced with a problem."

In order to make that point, Kryzewski recounted a story from his recently completed Olympic experience.

"He told us about the first meeting he had with the team. How they were told there are no more excuses in this program. You can't say "if we have Kobe, LeBron, or Chris Paul…" because those players were there. If a referee didn't make a call that would have been called in America, you can't say "that's not how we do it in America" because you're not in America. It's just like with you as an individual…if you aren't improving you can't look for someone to blame. You have to take responsibility for your actions."

"Having a guy like that talk to you about coaching the best players in the world, and with all his experience and accomplishments, it's easy to see why so many guys want to play for him. It was really a great experience."

Jefferson, who blew up over the summer at the various Las Vegas events, was described by Scout.com's Dave Telep as follows:

"Summer's almost over and that means it'll be time to produce our Top 10 list of rising sophomores. Jefferson's more than qualified to make the cut. He's pushing 6-7 and has a ton of upside and tools to work with. Great mix of inside/outside ability, handles it and he's got a motor that runs high. One of the best underclassmen in Vegas. Plus, he's young at heart. After a big playoff win, tucked under each arm where blue and pink stuffed animals that he won on the strip. This kid's fun to be around."

Blue Devil Digest Top Stories