BLOOMINGTON-J.J. Redick has been a household name to college basketball fans for four years, but IU Assistant Head Coach Donnie Marsh has known about the Duke senior guard for a whole lot longer than that.
From 1997-00, Marsh was an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, and Redick was an up-and-coming talent from the Roanoke, Va., area, who was well known in local circles long before blossoming into a McDonald's All-American as a senior at Cave Spring H.S.
"He probably doesn't remember this, but I've known that kid for a long time," said Marsh.
While Marsh was at Virginia Tech, Redick's cousin played on the Hokies' women's basketball team. That family tie, coupled with Virginia Tech's interest in some day convincing him to sign with their program, had Redick making the one-hour trip to Blacksburg, Va., to take in various Hokie sporting events.
"When he was a freshman and a sophomore in high school, he used to come over and watch football games and those type of things," said Marsh. "With his cousin on the women's team he came over a lot, and we were trying to get close to him early on."
After all, it was pretty obvious even at a young age that Redick was a can't-miss college prospect. Well before guiding Cave Spring H.S. to the state championship in 2002 by averaging 27.1 points per game, Redick was turning heads with his ability to shoot the basketball.
"I think people knew about him as early as the seventh or eighth grade," said Marsh. "He's always been able to shoot it."
That led to plenty of early interest not only from nearby Virginia Tech, but also a handful of other programs from around the region.
"He was getting scholarship offers as a freshman," said Marsh. "All the way back then he had Virginia and Wake (Forest) and us at Virginia Tech – everyone was offering. But Duke came in and closed that door pretty quick."
Since arriving at Duke, Redick has seen his notoriety grow and his game blossom. He's closing in on the 2,000-point career point barrier, and he'll soon be one of Duke's top 10 all-time leading scorers. He was also a preseason All-America choice in 2005-06 after being a unanimous first-team All-America selection as a junior.
He's also developed into much more than just a shooter. He's added the ability to put the ball on the floor and either get to the rim or draw fouls, where he can take advantage of his school-record 93.3 percent foul shooting.
"He's really grown in his game," said Marsh. "You used to say just get up into him and take away his jumper, and you'd do a pretty good job against him. But he's added the ability to put the ball on the floor and make some plays there. He's a complete player."
Redick No Stranger To Hoosier Coach
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