Head Down, Working Hard

For Kaleb Tarczewski, participation in last weekend's prestigious National Basketball Player's Association Top 100 camp came together at the last minute, and in the blink of an eye.

Or, at least, that's how it felt to the athletic 7-footer anyway.

"It was kind of a shock at first," Kaleb Tarczewski said. "I got a call on Wednesday (June 16) saying I could go, so I didn't get to be there for the first day of activities (June 17) because my plane didn't get there until almost 10."

The benefits of the annual camp are well known. Each year, 100 of the top high school basketball prospects in the country are invited to work out with current and former NBA players to hone both their bodies and minds. Through intense drill work and team competition, they improve their games and showcase their skills. Through classroom work and discussions with the NBA athletes in attendance, they learn of the maturity level life in The League requires.

On the court, though Tarczewski is his toughest critic, the East Coast product drew positive reviews for his athletic and physical play in the post – particularly on the defensive end.

"Defensively I think I played okay," he said. "I think I played fairly well, so it was a good weekend."

That he was invited to the camp is testament to how far he has come in a short window of time. Before his sophomore year at the St. Mark's School in Southborough, Mass., he admits he didn't have much in the way of basketball experience.

But under the tutelage of mentors like St. Mark's Head Coach Dave Lubick, and with countless hours spent in the weight room and on the court, he's blossomed into one of the fastest-rising players in the Class of 2012.

"It's been a lot of work," Tarczewski said. "But it's paying off."

Is it ever. As of June 15, college coaches are now allowed to place one phone call a month to prospects who are juniors-to-be, and to say Tarczewski's phone has been ringing off the hook might be something of an understatement.

On the other end of the line? Coaches like Kansas' Bill Self, West Virginia's Bob Huggins, Georgetown's John Thompson, Ohio State's Thad Matta and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

Though he doesn't know when he might start trying to narrow things down in his recruitment, one thing Tarczewski is sure of is that he'll have people who care about him – people like his parents and Lubick – helping him make the choice that's best for him.

Right now, he's simply staying grounded and playing basketball.

"I've been working hard and I'm around the right people," he explained. "And I think that's why (these opportunities are) happening."

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