Michael Haynes: It was pretty much me, my family and my coach back home, Warren Jackson all agreeing. We talked about making a move that would help me get my academics together for college. Initially, I was supposed to go to Christian Life Center in Texas, but then Coach Jackson brought in Heat Academy and Coach Niblett talked with me about the opportunities to develop my game, and the benefits of using their facilities. Really, Coach Niblett just exposed me to Heat Academy, and I made the decision to go. It's been a good decision, I really like it here.
When you say the move was academically motivated, is it just a case of strengthening your core classes or is it more SAT prep?
My move was more about getting the SAT score up. In talking with college coaches, they told me how important it was for me to get that SAT up and make sure my grades were right so I could qualify for D1 ball. I'm planning on taking the SAT again in April, and I've been taking SAT prep classes to get ready for the test. I really want to do well, now that I know I have an opportunity to go to college and get an education and play ball, I don't want to mess that up.
On the court, how has your game improved since enrolling at Heat?
I think my game has improved a lot -- especially on the perimeter. Me and Coach Niblett do a lot of perimeter workouts: ball-handling, shooting, and that kind of thing. I would like to play the wing when I'm in college, but I'm listed as a power forward because I do end up in the post a lot. I rebound, play good defense, I use my body to cause matchup problems. Working on my perimeter skills I think will really help me once I get to college, I won't just do one thing.
While you're looking at difference schools, are you finding yourself watching and scouting to see how you'd fit in?
I do try and watch a lot of different programs. I look to see how I would fit in. I watch a lot of Duke on TV, but I was also down this past weekend for the UNC game.
Can you provide a recap of your day and the experiences of being at Duke for the game?
We got there just before the game started, but wow. I dreamed for so long that I might be able to be at that game one day and being a recruit of Duke, it was just awesome to get to be there. Duke played excellent the whole game, the Crazies were just really crazy in the way they were supporting their team. It was really loud in there and a lot of fun. The crowd and the game was everything that I expected going in. They didn't disappoint. I was expecting Duke to win that game, but I didn't expect them to destroy UNC like that. It was awesome to watch.
How did the Duke recruiting process come about with you initially? How has it developed?
Duke started coming around a month ago. Coach James came up and watched me play, and started talking to me about the Duke program and all that it is. He was talking about what their needs were and what they liked about me. My bond with them is getting really strong, and I like everything about Duke. Their program. Their coaches. It's just such a pleasure being recruited by Duke, it's been a dream to have them actually recruiting me.
So it would be a fair assessment to say Duke is a strong player in your recruitment?
Yeah, that's a fair statement I guess. My thing is my education is first before anything. When it comes to basketball, as long as I can come in and work hard, and do what I do best on the court I know I'll be in the discussion for playing time. I just want to fit in and be a contributor, and Duke is for sure a school that I'm seriously considering and could see myself fitting in there.
Has Duke extended you an offer or are they waiting?
Duke has kind of taken then the approach that they want to see how things turn out with my SAT score and grades before all of that. They have not technically offered me yet, but they are definitely showing me a lot of interest, but they want to see how my grades and SATs turn out before they move forward with everything.