Jayhawk Invitational Preview: Derrick Favors

When Atlanta Celtics big man Derrick Favors takes the Allen Fieldhouse floor at 9:45 pm Friday for his first game in the 2008 Jayhawk Invitational, there will be plenty of eyes trained on him.

Ranked as the top prospect in the Class of 2009 by both Scout.com and PrepStars.com, the six-foot-nine inch forward from Atlanta (Ga.) South has grown accustomed to the spotlight and takes the attention from media, rankings and speculation among fans for what it is.

One of several stars who will be participating in the Jayhawk Invitational, Favors has even learned to enjoy all of the attention.

“It’s fun for me, you know. It kind of makes me feel like a superstar so I kind of like it,” said Favors. “I’m still getting used to it. I’m just trying to take it one step at a time, I like it.”

An imposing physical specimen who has lean strength to match his height, Favors is also a big-time athlete. Not surprisingly, he earned his reputation as a stud on the glass and the defensive end. His offense is coming along, but he’s also a throwback kind of player and doesn’t mind it if he’s better known for his defense.

“I rebound, I block shots, I use all my athleticism. I’m trying to get my body a little bigger, once I get that then I’ll be straight,” said Favors of his game. “It’s just natural for me to rebound and play defense. Yeah I’ve got to work on my offense, but I can’t help that it’s just more natural for me on defense.”

Given his lofty status and impressive talents, it isn’t a surprise to find out that Favors is being recruited by major programs from across the country. Among those who have expressed considerable interest are Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Kentucky and many more.

However, getting the big man to list his favorites or who is recruiting him the hardest is nearly impossible.

“Shoot, everybody,” laughs Favors when asked to reveal who is recruiting him. “It’s really hard to say who, because it’s really everybody.”

Given that he’ll be on the Kansas campus for the Jayhawk, Favors will try to brush up on Bill Self’s program.

“I know that they are recruiting me and that they won the championship,” said Favors of Kansas. “That’s all I really need to know about it. They are pretty good and I like how they feed the post man every once in a while. I’m going to try and check the campus out.”

Considered to be shy by many in the media, Favors actually has a lot of personality and is becoming much more comfortable with expressing himself in public.
“I’m really a silly person, I like to have fun with my teammates every once in a while,” he said. “I like to be quiet around everybody else, but when we get off the court, I’m just like this active person.”

According to Favors, he takes the floor every time wanting to win and make sure that his opponent doesn’t make him or his teammates look bad. So far, he’s done an excellent job doing that, and performing while under intense scrutiny that he knows is going to continue as long as he’s considered among the elite players in the country.

Since he can’t change it, Favors will do like he always does and take it for what it’s worth, try to have some fun and focus on getting better.

“I mean it’s ok with me, but it’s just a ranking,” said Favors on being ranked No. 1. “I know that there’s a lot of other great players out there that could be ranked number one too, so it’s just a ranking. It’s just another person’s opinion and I’m still going to work hard and be the same person.”

*Favors will be joined on the loaded Atlanta Celtics squad by 2009 standout and Kansas target Lance Stephenson who has joined the Celtics for the event. The Celtics will play their pool play games at 9:45 pm Friday in Allen Fieldouse and 1 and 4:45 pm Saturday in the Horjesi family athletics center. For more information, please check out the Jayhawk Invitational website at http://www.jayhawkinvitational.com or ask about it on the message board.

Derrick Favors Scout.com Profile

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