Julian Gamble Q&A

The University of Miami men's basketball team has two commitments for its Class of 2007 and is looking for one more.

With scholarship offers on the table to Chandler Parsons, Alvin Mitchell and Julian Gamble, we were able to catch up with Gamble and talk to him about his recruitment by Miami.

Having averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds a game as a junior at Southern High School in Durham, North Carolina, Gamble had his breakout performance while playing for Team In the Zone at the Breakdown Hoops Festival in Miami last week.

This weekend in Las Vegas at the Reebok Big Time Tournament, he's taking the court with the Worldwide Renegades out of Atlanta, Georgia, the same team he had his breakout performance against and drew the eyes of all the college coaches.

Here is what he had to say about his recruiting process including where the University of Miami stands in the race.

CanesTime: Before you came down to play with Team In the Zone at the Breakdown Hoops Festival, who was recruiting you?

Gamble: Coming to Breakdown Hoops Festival, it was just mid majors that were recruiting me. Appalachian State, East Carolina, VCU, Marshall, UNC Wilmington. I was getting letters from North Carolina and Marquette, but I never heard from any coaches, but they are looking at me now.

CT: What made you come down to the Breakdown Hoops Festival?

JG: The opportunity arose on going to a tournament in Miami. I was told we didn't have pay much to play. So I went with Darrell (mentor Darrell Hinton). The opportunity to go to Miami was great. I've always wanted to visit there and to play in a huge tournament was great. It just all came together.

CT: How did you feel about your performance in Miami at the Breakdown Hoops Festival?

JG: I think I performed pretty well. I wasn't really surprised at my performance. I had been working nonstop all summer because I hadn't been in any tournaments. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and not take it for granted. It was good to see that people were finally acknowledging that I am much better than I was before. There was speculation of me having to reclassify before the tournament in Miami. Now, that's not even an option.

CT: What are your top three schools?

JG: Miami, Tennessee and Kentucky. Those are my top three schools. Miami is in ACC which is big time. Bruce Pearl (Tenn.) is a great coach Tubby Smith, Kentucky has a lot of tradition. Tennessee is up and coming and I think will be a national championship contender in a few years. Miami plays some of the toughest competition in the country.

CT: What about the coaches? What's your communication with them been like?

JG: I haven't really talked to any head coaches, but coach Haith which is really good because the other schools are contacting me through their assistants, so they really aren't the decision makers. To be told how much you are wanted by the head man is special. It's really special that the coach is telling you I want you now and I want you to come to my school. It is way more special than the assistant coach relaying the message to the head coach.

CT: When do you think you will make a decision on a school?

JG: I want to try to sign early because I don't want to have to deal with this during the season. I don‘t have a problem with pressure, but I just want to get the whole recruiting situation out of the way. I don't want to have to worry about what school during the season. I just want to make my decision, get there and be able to earn my spot and get better.

CT: Are you going to Southern High School next year as there is talk of you going to Oak Hill in Virginia next year?

JG: I don't think I am going to be at Southern. There was speculation about me going to Oak Hill, but I don't think that's going to happen. I need to know where I am going to be at. School starts in August 25 in Durham so if I am not at Southern, I'll be at another high school in Durham.

CT: What are your grades and academic status?

JG: I have 3.0 grade point average, and looking to take the SAT the next time it's offered, so I can register some scores and take my official visits.

CT: Are you going to take the official visits before committing?

JG: I will use that as a tool if that I am going to commit to that school. After I take the visits, then I'll be able to make my decision. I am going to visit Miami, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and St. John's. From there I'll make a good educated decision.

CT: What was it like doing battle against J.J. Hickson who is rated as the No. 24 player in the country last week in Miami and slamming two monster dunks on him last week?

JG: Everybody was talking about him before, saying he was the best player in the tournament. I played him like I play anyone else. I gave it 100%. When you dunk on anyone, it gets you jacked up, the fact we were in their battling. I am pretty sure no one thought I was going to come at him like that. It's a satisfying to know that if you just did that against the No. 24 ranked player to know where you stand against one of the nation's best players.

CT: What has it been like to now play alongside Hickson with Worldwide after playing against him?

JG: Right when I first walked in the gym, they were saying that's that dude that dunked on J.J. like five times. They were talking about it a lot. Power forward Trevor Mbakwe (ranked No. 72 by Scout) was talking about it. Everyone was asking me what happened. He got me a couple of times, but I think I got the best of him in that game.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

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