Larry Brown has taken steps to make sure SMU basketball is a national brand and part of that is recruiting nationally. Brown is well-known in the New York area, but has been showing interest in New Jersey 2016 prospect Tyus Battle and 2015 forwards Chris Silva and Markis McDuffie.
McDuffie is building a solid relationship with Brown, who since coming back to the college game, has been a prolific texter when he isn't on the court with his Mustangs.
"He texts me like every other day or so," McDuffie said. "He's very outgoing. He likes talking. Usually most coaches don't like to talk, but I was very surprised at how good of a conversation I had with a Hall of Fame coach."
Even though McDuffie hasn't talked with the Hall of Fame coach on the phone, he believes they have a solid relationship.
McDuffie didn't get to see SMU play when the Mustangs faced Rutgers on the road, but knows the program is headed in the right direction.
"I really like the program because they have all the same coaches and they have a lot of experience," McDuffie said. "Their coach has coached professional players and that's what I really like."
The St. Anthony small forward said it's the way the program is run and the style of play that impresses him the most.
"I think their play style is pretty good. I saw some of it. I didn't get to see them play much this year, but I like how coach Brown coaches and that's really it," the 6-7, 185-pound forward said. "I never really heard of them until coach Brown went there."
SMU has told McDuffie that the staff is looking for a wing forward in the 2015 class and McDuffie could be that player.
"I really don't know where I'm at right now, but the recruiting process is going well. It's going pretty good," McDuffie said. "I think I'm winging it right now. I'm not even close to making a decision. I haven't even talked about it with my parents. I'm still open and young too."
McDuffie knows what he's looking for in his college and mainly his reasons are to set him up to succeed in life outside of basketball.
"I'm looking for a school that first has great academics where off the court I could do other things just in case the ball stops," McDuffie said. "I would like a good coach with a lot of experience, who knows how to coach and that's really it. A great staff too I guess."
On the court, McDuffie is a solid shooter that handles the ball well and can get to the basket. Where he needs to work on is his strength so he can become a better two-way player.
"I like to shoot the ball. I'm a really good shooter. I can handle the ball now so I play the guard position now and I'm able to take guys off the dribble," McDuffie said. "I'm a good finisher and I'm an average rebounder, but I can rebound if I really put heart into it. I can defend though."
"I think if I get stronger I'm able to do some of the things on the court more because I would be stronger," McDuffie said. "Sometimes because I'm weak, I limit myself so if I get stronger I can be more aggressive."
McDuffie has been averaging 14 points per game for the Sports U AAU program this season.