Shavlik Randolph Chooses Duke

RALEIGH, NC--It was short and to the point but the message was what people had expected to hear. Shavlik Randolph announced on Wednesday that next season he will attend Duke University and play basketball for the Blue Devils.

After comments by his dad and some of his current and former coaches, Randolph took to the podium at Broughton's Holiday Gymnasium for his announcement.

"I want to thank everyone for being here, I really appreciate it. I want to thank all the schools that recruited me, it really meant a lot. But I have come to my decision as you probably know and I have decided to attend Duke University."

With that the soft-spoken big man concluded his statement and a recruitment that caught the attention of the entire state. Randolph came to his decision following a visit to Duke a week and a half ago. His final list consisted of Kansas, NC State, Duke, UNC, and Florida.

Kenny Randolph, Shavlik's dad, thanked all the coaches and schools for their recruiting of Shavlik and their professional behavior. Shavlik did not wish to list his second choice instead chose to say that he felt most comfortable with the Duke players and coaches and that allowed him to make his final decision.

Thanks to former Inside Carolina writer David Bolick and for the following interview with Shavlik Randolph following his announcement:

Q: What did Coach K say to you and what was the deciding factor in you choosing Duke?

Randolph: "A lot of it had to do with, a couple of weeks earlier, I had gone up there to play pick up and Sean Dockery and J.J. Reddick were there and it was us 3, Mike Dunleavy and a walk-on and we just did really well and we had a lot of chemistry and I knew if I went there I could be the best player I could be."

Q: Did you feel any pressure to go to NC State, where your grandfather went, or North Carolina, where your parents went?

Randolph: "People probably thought I did, but I really didn't."

Q: What was your final order of the schools that recruited you?

Randolph: "I don't know, I really don't want to say if I had a second choice. I don't think that is important because I am already committed."

Q: Have you enjoyed the recruiting process and the ride of it all?

Randolph: "Yeah, I mean at times, it was tough, it was real tough but after it pretty much got out to the public that I was going to Duke, that night I sat in my bed and I reminisced on all the times I had with the coaches and it was just so weird to me that I was finally committed to a school. I am still adjusting to it right now."

Q: Feel like the pressure is off now and you can enjoy your senior year?

Randolph: "Yeah, I think a lot of pressure is off of me. I can just go and concentrate on getting better, just for myself and for Broughton. I don't have to worry about anything else."

Q: Was Duke always the front-runner?

Randolph: "I will say that Duke was always one of the frontrunners. I can't say they were always the front runner but they were always up there."

Q: Any bizarre situations like Donovan waving to you in the parking lot?

Randolph: "That's probably the most extreme thing. And seeing Michael Jordan with my shirt on."

Q: When did you make the decision that I am going to Duke, when was it?

Randolph: "It was probably the day I got back from my visit at Duke. They dropped me off Sunday morning and I pretty much decided Sunday night."

Q: When Coach K showed up at your house, what did he say to you, what was his pitch?

Randolph: "He just told me the same thing he always told me. You are going to have to earn everything you get, I am not promising anything. I can promise you, you are going to work your butt off and trust in me that you will be the best player you can be."

Q: Is Coach K a great salesman?

Randolph: "I just think that he knows how to talk to players and he is honest with them, he doesn't just tell them what they want to hear, he tells them what they need to hear and that's what's most important, you can trust him."

Q: "Did Coach Sendek or Coach Doherty have any particular reaction when you told them?

Randolph: "I haven't talked to Coach Sendek. I called him and left a message but I have talked to Coach Doherty. He told me he was disappointed but I have more respect for him now than I did before because, to tell you the truth, I almost cried after I got off the phone with him because it is kind of like saying goodbye to a good friend that you're never going to see again because me and him built a pretty good relationship. He said he was disappointed but he wished me the best of luck and hopes that even though I won't be able to play for his school, we will still be able to talk to each other and have a relationship."

Q: How about this turnout? It is safe to say you had a bigger turnout to this press conference than Michael Jordan had at his a few days ago.

Randolph: "That just shows the school support at Broughton. I don't think there is another school that even comes close. I want to thank all the people that came. It really means a lot to me."

Q: With this over, can you focus on a run at the state championship?

Randolph: "That's one of the main reasons I wanted to do it. I wanted to be able to direct my energy to the high school team because my high school career would not be complete if we did not win a state championship."

Q: How do you see the 6 of you (Duke's class) fitting in together?

Randolph: "We are going to have to because we are going to be playing on the same team. Like I said, when I went over and played pick-up with J.J. and Sean Dockery, that was one of the main reasons that I knew we had a lot of chemistry together and have the potential to jell and be a real good team."

Q: "How do you see yourself playing with Shelden Williams and have you played against him?"

Randolph: "Yeah, I have played against him. Our games are not very similar. They are similar because we are both tall but I think he is more of a pure power forward type guy that can step out every now and then but I am more of a guy that can play around the wing and step inside when I need to."

Q: Are you ready to play in the NBA or can you wait?

Randolph: "That's always been my dream and that's what I have been working for ever since I was 11 years old. I am not impatient about it but that is what I work for every time I step on the basketball court."

Q: If this spring, you are projected as a lottery-pick would you consider jumping straight to the NBA?

Randolph: "I might have to go talk to God and see what he wanted me to do and if I thought I was ready and I talked to my family and we would decide.

Q: Would you talk to Coach K?

Randolph: "Oh yeah, I would definitely talk to Coach K. Like I said, I know he would be honest with me and not tell me something just because he wanted me to go there. He would be honest and tell me what he really thought."

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