Hoops Recruiting: Franklin To Visit Saturday

Roger Franklin has a busy weekend planned. His No. 1-ranked Duncanville (Texas) High School basketball team has a playoff game Friday night, and then he plans to make the trip to Stillwater on Saturday to catch the Oklahoma State-Kansas game at Gallagher-Iba Arena. We caught up with Franklin on Thursday night to visit about a variety of topics, including which school is pursuing him the hardest.

The 6-foot-5 1/2, 217-pound Duncanville High School junior is hoping the Panthers will capture their 34th victory (against just one loss, which was to national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy of Virginia) when they face Richland (26-6) in a Class 5A Region I playoff game Friday night.

Franklin, who scored 26 points (16 in the first quarter) in a playoff win over Cedar Hill last week, is averaging nearly 15 points and close to eight rebounds for Duncanville, which is attempting to win back-to-back Class 5A state championships.

Franklin said that he plans to practice from 9-10 a.m. Saturday morning (after a victory Friday night), then jump in the car with his uncle, Andre Johnson, and head to Stillwater for Saturday afternoon's nationally televised game at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Here are excerpts from our conversation with Franklin:
Are you taking any trips this weekend?
> Franklin: Yes, sir. I'm going to the Oklahoma State-Kansas game.

This will be your second unofficial visit to Oklahoma State, correct?
Franklin: Yes. I came up for Homecoming and Hoops (in October).

Are you excited about making the trip to Stillwater and watching Saturday's game?
Franklin: Yes, I'm really looking forward to it... really looking forward to it.

At this point in recruiting, are these trips just for fun or do you use them to get useful information for when you will eventually make a decision as to which school you'll select?
Franklin: When I go on unofficial trips I'm coming to check out the campus and I'm checking to see if that's a school and a team that I could possibly play for one day.

Which schools are recruiting you? Which ones do you hear from the most?
Franklin: Oklahoma University, Miami, Oklahoma State ... they've really been on me the most. I would have to say that Oklahoma State is after me the most right now. (Others are) TCU, Utah, SMU, Marquette, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas State and Virginia. Virginia just came at me two days ago.

Who's been recruiting you for Oklahoma State?
Franklin: Coach (Mike) Hatch. He's been to Texas quite a bit and he's been to see me some of my games.

Is anyone else coming to the game with you Saturday? Is your teammate Shawn Williams also making the trip?
Franklin: I don't think (Duncanville teammate) Shawn Williams is coming with me. I'm coming with my Uncle Andre.

For people who have not seen Roger Franklin play, how would you describe as a player?
Franklin: I would describe myself as a workhorse. I'm going to work hard and I'm going to give 150 percent effort. My goal is to be a leader and to work hard, and do whatever it takes to help the team win. If I only score two points and get 10 rebounds and we win, I will be happy with myself because I'll know that I contributed to the team and worked hard to get the team pumped up for the win. I think my role as a player is to be a leader and to work hard and do whatever it takes to get the win.

Is there a clear-cut leader in the recruiting process right now?
Franklin: I really wouldn't know because it's wide open. I'm keeping all my options open right now, just taking unofficial visits.

What is your timeline for selecting a school?
Franklin: By July I would like to have a top five selected. Then I would like to take official visits to those five schools or universities.

So you hope to have a decision and sign during the early signing period in November?
Franklin: Yes, sir.

Are you pleased with how the high school season is playing out as Duncanville goes for a second consecutive state championship?
Franklin: It's been a very fun year.

Have you and your teammates felt any pressure to defend last season's state title?
Franklin: There is a little pressure on us because we are the defending state champion and everyone looks forward to playing us because we are the state champion and the team to beat. That's what makes it fun because you get everybody's best game, and everybody plays hard against us. I think it's been fun the past two years after I started as a freshman because everyone is going to play harder and is going to make us work harder, and we've come together as a team. So I think it's been a lot more fun even with more pressure on us.

Shawn Williams is averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds, while you're averaging nearly 15 points and 8 rebounds. How do the two of you play together?
Franklin: We've been on the same team and played together since the seventh grade. Shawn is one of my real good friends. We've had our ups and down in basketball but we both know that when it all comes down to it, we're ready to play together. He's like my brother. I support him and he supports me.

Is there a chance next year as seniors will be your last season of playing basketball together? Or is it a possibility that you end up at the same school?
Franklin: We have talked about that. We both realize that when we make a decision for a college we know we're going to have to do what's best for each other – Shawn's going to have to do what's best for him, and I'm going to have to do what's best for me. We know there's a possibility that we'll have to split up but we'll still have our friendship.

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