2017 Lancaster guard T.J. Starks took in SMU's season opening win over Sam Houston State on Saturday and came away impressed with the entire experience.
"It was good. It was a fun experience. I like the college atmosphere. It was a positive atmosphere all around," Starks said. "The kids are really excited for their players and I really like that because it gets you hyped up for the game. I feel like I could fit in at SMU. I really liked SMU, but I just haven't decided if I could go there yet."
The SMU coaching staff were excited for their players to perform well and that's something that stood out to Starks.
"They were enthusiastic and I love when coaches are happy for their players doing good. I like when coaches are into the game too," Starks said. "Even though he didn't do a lot of yelling, he was still coaching his players and letting them play too. I really liked that."
Starks has kept in contact with SMU assistant coach KT Turner and the two are building a relationship that has him keeping SMU in mind through the recruitment process.
"Coach Turner was just asking me how I liked the school and I told him I liked it so then he told me I should stay in Dallas and come to SMU. I told him I'd keep it in mind and I will always think about SMU," Starks said. "He's a cool dude. He acts young and like one of us. I feel comfortable talking to him because he's like my friend rather than my dad. He's a real cool coach."
The 6-2, 190-pound guard got to speak with SMU associate head coach Tim Jankovich, who said he's going to try and make it over to his game tonight since he wants to see all the good things Turner has been telling him about Starks.
"He was just like he wants to see me play because he's heard a lot about me so he just needs to see what he's been hearing is true. He just wants to make sure everything's not false. Right now, he's just hearing stuff," Starks said. "He wants to come down for a practice. I told him about our first game and he said he might come to watch me play."
The team's offense really impressed Starks, who likes the pick and roll aspects of it.
"It's a lot of pick and roll and feed the bigs then it's inside-out because they crash down on the bigs and that's open shots for me if they pass it back out. That's knockdown three or easy jump shots for me if the bigs get double-teamed. It's just an easy offense and I love that screen and roll. I work well with that because I have the mismatch or my big has the mismatch if they switch. I just love their offense even though they do slow it down at times."
The combo guard has offers from Oklahoma and Southern, but is also hearing from the likes of Texas, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Florida. Starks sees himself as a point guard at the next level and wants to sign next spring.
"I'm working on my passing and ball-handling because everyone really knows I can score, but I just need to prove I can get my other players involved in that so I feel like if I can work on those things, I feel like I'll be a point or combo."
The Urban DFW Elite guard has been working on a lot of things on the AAU circuit including his ball-handling and finer parts of his game.
"I need to look up the court more because I like to score so I tend to dribble with my eyes down so I miss a couple passes, but at the same time, when I dribble, I usually finish at the rack, but I miss the open teammates and colleges like that extra pass so I need to do that," Starks said. "I can really attack the rim well and it's really hard to guard me. I can shoot the three-ball, but that's not my game. My game is coming off the screen and pulling up or finishing at the rim."