Bloomington, Ind. – A favorite appears to be emerging for D.J. Byrd.
The Crawfordsville (Ind.) Class of 2009 shooting guard has received scholarship offers from Notre Dame and Purdue in recent weeks, adding those to previous tenders from Xavier, Indiana and Butler. With the summer months winding down, the rising junior appears to be favoring one of the in-state schools at this point in the recruiting process.
"I'd say (Purdue) is definitely at the top, but there's good opportunities everywhere for me, including at IU and Notre Dame," Byrd said. "I'm going to visit all the places, talk it over with my family, and see what's best."
Byrd likes the fact Purdue is only 25 minutes from his home, and he's also built a strong relationship with Boilermaker coach Matt Painter, who played for the same AAU coach that is currently tutoring Byrd. Byrd said it took Purdue a bit of time to figure out just how he'd fit into their future plans, but that's since been sorted out and an offer is now on the table.
"Purdue talked about (offering) before, but they wanted to have a plan for me first," Byrd said. "After they discussed it, they offered me a scholarship."
While Indiana might be trailing at this point, there's still plenty of time to make up ground since Byrd said he'll likely wait until next summer before making a decision.
In the meantime, he said he'll make his first trip to Notre Dame's campus Sept. 1 to take a look around, and also hopes to make a trip to Bloomington as well before the summer comes to a close.
While the scholarship offers from Purdue and Notre Dame were welcomed news, it's been a difficult summer for Byrd, who's been sidelined for nearly two months with a foot injury. In June, doctors discovered that he had an extra bone in the arch of his foot, which was causing inflammation and constant pain. After being on crutches for a week, he spent the next five weeks in a boot and away from the basketball floor.
It was a difficult experience, but Byrd also knows he's fortunate the issue was discovered before it got worse.
"There was inflammation in my foot which was putting too much pressure on a bone and it was about to crack," Byrd said. "If I hadn't gone to the doctor when I did, after a week or two it could have cracked and that would have been major surgery, six to eight months to heal."
Instead, Byrd has been spending his time in the gym working on his strength and in the pool to maintain his conditioning in an effort to be ready for the start of his junior season at North Montgomery H.S.
"I wanted to play so bad, but I knew if I tried to play it could get worse and I'd be out longer," Byrd said.
Byrd said he removed the boot about 10 days ago and has been playing basketball every other day, and expects to be fully recovered in a matter of weeks.
When he's back to full strength, he'll be one of the most watched juniors in the Indiana high school ranks this year. Byrd averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists as a sophomore, and the 6-4, 205-pounder plays an aggressive style of basketball that has Indiana and Purdue locked in another in-state recruiting tug-of-war.
"The thing about Purdue, I can relate to their coach," Byrd said. "He knows a lot about me being close to me. With Coach Sampson, coming from Oklahoma, he wants those guys that can shoot, run the floor, be tough and play defense, and I can do that for him.
"It's one of those things, they like the toughness about me. That's what I want to keep doing, and we'll see how it goes from there."
Has A Favorite Emerged for Byrd?
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