2015 Willow Bend Academy center D'Jery Baptiste continued the recent trend of high-profile visitors to SMU's campus to see Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown and his staff a week ago and thoroughly enjoyed the visit according to his guardian, Derrick Shelby.
"They basically spent about two hours there. They toured the whole campus, saw the brand new George Bush Library and toured the workout facilities," Shelby said. "They've got great facilities that they've built there."
With so much time spent with the staff, the three-star prospect was able to get a good understanding of how he'd fit into the program, but also everything else the staff is working towards at SMU.
"They talked to him about of course, how he would fit in here at SMU, and talked about how tough their conference is going to be and how they're building for the future," Shelby said.
Shelby lauded the staff about how good of a job they have been doing and how they utilize everyone on the staff to grow the SMU program in Dallas-area.
"They've been working hard on keeping good relationships with everyone here in Dallas and you know if they got the top four or five kids in Dallas, they'd be number one in the country," Shelby said.
Baptiste has been working hard on the circuit trying to sharpen his game as he goes into his junior season and that has a lot of schools interested, but Baptiste hasn't paid too much attention to SMU until now.
"Djery is so wide-open right now, he's just so focused on getting better so he hadn't thought about SMU until he visited," Shelby said. "Now that he's seen the campus, he said ‘Ohh wow!"
Shelby said it's extremely easy to know why Baptiste wanted to get on campus.
"When Larry Brown shows up, man it's like okay," Shelby said. "That's because everyone knows he's got 50-plus years in the coaching business so everyone has either worked for him or coached with him in the country no matter what level.
"Some NBA GMs have worked for him somewhere in their career so with the relationships that coach Brown has, you can't find somebody with more. Because of that, you have to look at it cause they're building something special there."
With his 6-11, 240-pound frame, Baptiste, who is originally from Haiti, is already extremely gifted physically and schools like Kansas, Kansas State, TCU and Texas, who calls everyday according to Shelby, are lining up to have him visit them.
Baptiste's game does need some more work in both fundamentals and on the mental side of the game, but that will only come with time and practice. He tore his ACL and MCL as a freshman but bounced back and added 40 pounds last year.
"You know he's in a good program and he's going to get better and with an NBA body already at 6-11, they know he's going to be special," Shelby said. "Because of the people he's around, they know he's going to get better."
Baptiste, who is extremely smart as well and speaks four languages, French, Spanish, Creole and English, is as driven on the court as he is off of it and that is a plus for SMU in the long run.
"He didn't know about SMU until I talked with him about it. I told him the academics there are second to none and his goal, just so you know, is to be a diplomat for the country. His mind and his focus on his goals and dreams, he's just completely focused," Shelby said. "He has a pushup reminder on his iPhone that reminds him to get up and do pushups."
When it's all said and done, Shelby expects Baptiste's offer list to grow quickly in July as he plays for the Texas Titans.
"Some say it's a no-brainer to offer, but I don't count that. I suspect that his offers will be 10-plus after the live period, which is coming up in July," he said. " People are going to see how much he has improved from April to July."
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