During his trip to Southern California, SMU assistant coach K.T. Turner stopped a JUCO tournament to watch Daviyon Draper, a sophomore at Antelope Valley C.C. by way of Los Angeles Locke High School.
There has been quite a bit of clamor connecting Draper to SMU since Turner saw him in action, but Draper says he doesn't really know how interested the Mustangs are in him.
"I didn't really hear too much about it, but my coach told me a little about it," Draper said. "I never talked to (Turner)."
It appears that Draper was the victim of bad timing. In the game that Turner watched, the 6-foot-8 prospect only scored 11 points while the next night he put up 29. But Draper's old AAU coach, Etop Udo-Ema of the Compton Magic, has promised to help Draper with his recruitment. Udo-Ema has a personal relationship with Turner, so an SMU offer may still be in the cards for Draper.
For now though, Draper is focused on his season, emphasizing his team first and himself second.
"My sophomore year is going pretty good. We got a nice team, a lot of sophomores so we're still developing, but we're 11-3 right now," Draper said. "I'm doing pretty good. The game is starting to slow down for me as far as my sophomore year goes. I can see the difference from my freshman year."
Because of his team's young age, Draper has had to step into a leadership role for Antelope Valley.
"I definitely have had to take on a leadership role this year because last year we had a lot of sophomores," Draper said. "But we lost all of that group so I really had to do more things to be a leader to help these younger guys out."
This year is a new challenge for Draper as he has switched positions but he is adapting on the fly and keeping a positive attitude about the changes.
"Last year I started every game at the three, but this year the team changed and coach put me at the four," Draper said. "It's a little different because I ain't ever played it, but I've been in the weight room a lot, which will get me ready for the next level, being able to bang and stay in the paint and take more contact. I'm a competitor. I try to compare myself to the best players and every day I try to get better."
This is the first time that Draper, who stands at 6-foot-7, 215-pounds, has consistently been a post player in his basketball career, but he selflessly agreed to change because it was best for his team. And so far, so good. Draper is averaging 12.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game through 14 games.
"My natural position is probably the two-three. That's where I learned how to play basketball," Draper said. "The four takes a lot of discipline, but I feel I can play any position. You know, it really doesn't matter to me, it just depends upon our lineup and the type of team we have."
Draper has received serious interest from Wichita State, Missouri State, Washington State and a number of California State schools but is still waiting for his first offer. If it comes from SMU, Draper will definitely be interested.
"I'm just really focused on the season right now. I do want to commit early though when I find a program that has my best interests," Draper said. "(I'm looking for) a team that's interested in me, one who likes my game, who I can play for, and that has my best interests as a player."
Draper Updates Recruitment
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