Tokoto Heads To NBA Camp

The class of 2012 looks to be one of the deepest and most talented groups in quite a while. Near the top of the rankings is Wisconsin product J.P. Tokoto. The 6'6 wing has been on the Blue Devil radar for a while, but is he still in play for Duke?

On Tuesday J.P. Tokoto received a number of phone calls from high major coaches who were offering scholarships and making their recruiting pitches. The calls began at midnight and continued throughout the day according to his father, Trevor Trimble. Then, on Wednesday morning, the talented wing prospect headed to the airport for a flight to the NBA Top 100 camp.

"Yesterday was a busy day for our family and for J.P," said Trimble. "Coach Williams called just after midnight to offer a scholarship. After that we got calls from Coach Ryan at Wisconsin, Coach Williams at Marquette, Coach Cal at Kentucky, and Coach K at Duke. Also, Miami and Maryland called and offered."

With so many high majors throwing their hat in the ring the Tokoto camp has seen an already intense recruiting process ramp up a few more notches. And while many players get caught up in such hype, it appears as though the five star wing will remain grounded throughout.

"As parents we are telling him to remain hungry and humble. This process is good for him because it allows him to apply those principals when he is dealing with the media and with all these coaches. Yesterday was a special day for him because you had several great coaches calling to offer scholarships. It was special to see your kid reach that level of accomplishment, but at the same time you have to remind him that this isn't the goal. He has to keep working if he wants to write his own story. By your sophomore year nobody is going to care what you were ranked in high school. You have to be prepared to play at the next level."

With that in mind Tokoto will spend the rest of June and July attending the various camps and competing on the AAU circuit. Then, in August, the family will start making some plans.

"After the summer is over we are going to sit down and start making our lists with pros and cons of each program. The goal for us will be to get this done during his junior year so that he can focus on preparing for college and closing out his high school season as a senior."

Before reaching that portion of the process, however, Tokoto has a few specific goals in mind when it comes to improving and refining his game.

"A lot of people say that the mid-range game is a lost art, but we're working hard to find it. We're also working on getting in the gym and adding good weight. One thing I've noticed with him is that he's maturing. It used to be a case of me telling him when we were going to the gym. Now it's him asking when we can go and what we can do. He's taking responsibility for this thing."

An increased level of maturity will be needed this fall as Tokoto assumes the role of leader for his high school team. Despite being a two-year starter for Menomonee Falls, the five star prospect now faces the reality that many of his upperclassman teammates have graduated.

"He knows that this year will be his time. He's got to step up and do things he hasn't done before. He needs to be the vocal leader and he needs to do more for his team. It'll be a good change for him, but he will have to be ready."

It's a safe bet that the additional responsibility will be welcomed by Tokoto. After all his game is defined by his versatility on both ends of the floor. He's played all five positions on the floor for his high school and has done well enough, averaging just over 18 points per contest as a sophomore. That versatility has transferred over to the AAU circuit as well as the recruiting trail. In Duke's case it has lead to some revealing conversations with the coaching staff.

"We visited Duke on Memorial Day after the TOC in the morning. That afternoon we went over to UNC. Our whole family spent hours with Coach K and his entire staff in his office that morning. It's a huge compliment to J.P. that Coach K and his staff were willing to spend a holiday with us like that. Coach K sees him as a guy who really doesn't have a position - a lot like Grant Hill or Scottie Pippen. Those are two guys he always compares him to because of his length and skill set. Coach told him that he really can't put a number on him because he could bring the ball up as a one or be slashing to the basket as a three."

Since those visits Tokoto and his family have had time to reflect and process the information that was presented and some that wasn't. Then, on Tuesday the calls started, the reports followed, and the rumor mills began to churn. At the end of the day, however, not much had changed and the plan was still in place.

"I'm always interested in hearing the latest rumors. The fact is that J.P. is a very personable kid and these coaches are always very friendly and nice when they are calling. They have to be. This is their job and they are all very, very good at it. You aren't going to have a coach calling you in a bad mood. That wouldn't work. It's a great honor and a great accomplishment to have these coaches working to recruit you, but you have to remember this is their job. Our goal is to take emotion out of it all. We don't want him to make an emotional statement or an emotional decision. Any coach who calls is going to have a great conversation because they are in a good mood and J.P.'s personality fits with that, but you can't get caught up in that kind of thing."

Tokoto is rated as the nation's top small forward in the class of 2012 by

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