One on One With Amile Jefferson

Amile Jefferson, one of the top players in the class of 2012 has already camped in Durham at the Elite camp. Find out what the talented prospect has been up to as his high major recruiting process kicks off.

TDD: Your high school season seems to be going really well. Can you provide a brief overview?

Amile Jefferson: We are having a good amount of success this year, but we did take a couple of close losses recently. One of them was against a really really good South Kent team, but both those losses were by less than 7 points. We've regrouped as a team and we're striving to produce each and everyday.

We run about six or seven deep with myself being the only underclassman that really plays, the rest are seniors and juniors, so, we have good balance. I like playing with our team because we have two point guards that are really different. One of them is a really quick guard who can get the outlet pass and get out and go. The other is a more methodical, disciplined type who can get us into offensive sets and run clock. I like playing with those guys because I like playing multiple styles.

Do you find yourself playing more in the post than on the wing during the high school season?

I kind of play a power forward role for our team. We play a four out one in style which allows me to be real versatile. I'm a big fan of exploiting mismatches. If I've got a big guy on me, I like to take him outside and off the dribble, push in transition, that kind of thing. But if I'm matched up by a smaller player, I like to back them down, give them some body blows, let em know I'm putting in some work down there. I think it's really good to play in a variety of ways, I think it's really good for our team and for teams in general if you can play a variety of styles as a player.

Your high school team has been able to play some terrific teams from all over and have been on national television. What's that kind of experience do for you?

It was real big playing on ESPN, but we didn't play great to be honest. Experience wise it was really good and we took some positive steps forward as a team from that. The thing that's great about Friends Central is they teach us to play the right way and we play as if it's the first time a college team has come to watch us play.

Have you noticed a lot of schools coming out to watch your team this season?

Oh, yeah. I've seen Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Villanova, Temple, and just a lot of local teams. We've also had a lot of teams up for practices and open runs too. Syracuse, Texas, and since I went down to Duke for their elite camp they've had coaches come up to watch me practice as well. It's always real exciting to see coaches come and watch us play.

With them watching you, have you had time to watch what those programs have been doing?

There's definitely some schools that I'm watching. I watch Villanova and Syracuse a lot. Wesley Johnson I really enjoy watching him. His game is really nice. But even growing up I watched guys like Gerald Henderson and Wayne Ellington when they were playing for Episcopal and then for Duke and UNC. When I watch the college guys play, I try to learn a lot of things, post moves, footwork, how they use pick and roll, isolation, I just try to be a real student of the game.

You're in the heart of Big East country. Are you a fan of that conference's style of play?

Well, the Big East is generally known as a real physical, "beat you up" type of league. But, then again, there's different types of teams who play a faster pace. For example, Villanova and Marquette are both guard oriented and like to get it out and into transition. But then you watch a team like Georgetown where they use their big guys and kind of slow it down.

Having been down to Duke for the camp, are you catching a lot of ACC games?

I've watched Duke and UNC this year several times, and I like the way Duke plays. They play a more methodical game sometimes. They work a good possession and shoot a lot of threes and they work to get it down low too. The thing that's good about them is they have a balance…they can get out and run as well.

Whenever I watch a game, whether it's Big East, ACC or whoever, I watch and learn on how to be effective in transition, and I know I definitely want to play with a point guard who wants to get out and go and look for his teammates.

You were among the first recruits to attend the Duke Elite Camp. As a recruit, what was your take on that experience?

It was really great, but I wish we had more time than just the one day. I tried to go in with the mentality of showing what I could do and just learning as much as I could. Duke's really prestigious and getting to be around Coach K was great. He was willing to talk with us and teach us a lot of things. I had the opportunity with some of the guys from the camp to have dinner with Coach K, and he was sharing his Team USA experience and all that went into it. It was just really great to talk with him, I feel like I learned a lot in that short time with him, which is great for me because I am a student of the game.

With your game and reputation beginning to emerge on the national scene, how are you preparing to handle the recruiting process of a high major prospect?

The first thing I tell myself is that I have to stay humble. I can be really good one day and be at the bottom the next day. I realize that I have a bullseye on my back, and I was fortunate to play with a really great AAU team last year. It just really helps me to keep a level head. I'm fortunate to have a great foundation with my AAU Coach, my dad and my HS Coach, and I've got a special relationship with them. They constantly teach me about how to handle things the right way.

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."


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