David Padgett looks today to be the cornerstone bluechip recruit for Stanford in this 2003 class in a fashion not dissimilar to the importance of Josh Childress two years ago. If you were to take this junior class and name a McDonald's All-American team, he's the one heavy Stanford recruit who I would think would be a lock on the team. Stanford has successfully recruited high-profile big men over the years, including Tim Young, Mark Madsen, the Collins twins, Curtis Borchardt and Matt Haryasz... but Padgett is a national battle against the likes of Kansas and Louisville as well as the West Coast suspects. Dave made his name and proved himself last year such that he has been able to take his time recovering from a winter knee injury. He and his father/coach, Pete Padgett, know that more harm than good could be done by bringing him back too early, so he sat out the Pump 'N Run Easter tournament this past weekend. Look for his next big event to come in Chapel Hill with the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, and also look for important updates on his recruitment in the next two months. He is about to take his official visits to Stanford and others in the coming weeks.
Dave currently carries a 3.4 GPA and will take the SAT for the first time this spring. At 6'11", he is a true big man with a wider frame and build than you saw from Curtis Borchardt or Matt Haryasz at this age, easily. Though I didn't get to watch him in Vegas, I did get to see him play with the Pump 'N Run team last summer. Though he played with a very talented group of senior big men, like Nik Caner-Medley and Brad Buckman, he was a standout talent that well deserved the top 10 label he received in his junior class. He moves up and down the floor easily, has nice touch near the basket, blocks shots, and can take the ball away from the basket.
I caught up with Dave and got the latest on his injury, his recruitment, and plans for the summer...
Dave can only watch
The Bootleg: I know it's tough to see the
Pumps go down, and for you to not be able to go out there and help them.
Does it kill you to still be recovering from this injury and not be able to help
Dave Padgett: Yeah. Well, I missed the last 10 games of my season, so I kinda got used to watching them. But it's still really hard. We have a whole new team (with the Pumps), and it would be nice to get used to everyone. But I'll be ready here in a few weeks.
The Bootleg: Can you give us a little bit
of an updated on how your rehab has been going, and your timeline to play again?
Dave Padgett: I've been working out actually for a couple weeks now, and going to therapy and doing all that stuff. A couple weeks more - a month at the most - and I should be back to normal.
The Bootleg: What have the doctors told
you about the injury, how it's healing, and if it will affect you at all going
Dave Padgett: They said as long as I do all my therapy, it shouldn't ever happen again. It's kind of a one-time thing. As long as I build my leg back up, I should be fine.
The Bootleg: Do you know what
specifically caused it?
Dave Padgett: It was a dislocation of the kneecap. When I was playing, I went to make a move and someone stepped on my foot. My foot stayed still but my knee kept moving. It just popped right out and then popped back in.
The Bootleg: Are you taking this
opportunity with rehab and lifting weights to get any stronger?
Dave Padgett: Yeah, I'm lifting three or four times a week right now. I go to therapy and then hit the weights. Just trying to get that leg back up again.
The Bootleg: With this time on the bench,
and the perspective that gives from the sideline, is there something you've seen
watching games that you want to try and add to your game or do differently?
Dave Padgett: I think I'll continue to work on my perimeter game, which I've been doing for a while. I think it would be a good advance for me to be able to step outside, face up and shoot. That's what I'm going to try to concentrate on.
The Bootleg: You have a lot of high
profile schools sitting to watch you even when you're out injured. But who
are the ones who you have seen give you the most serious and consistent
Dave Padgett: Stanford, Arizona, Kansas and Louisville. I'd say those are the top four.
The Bootleg: Are you starting to
formulate a timeline, as well as which official visits you think you'll take?
Dave Padgett: Yeah, I'm coming to Stanford in two weeks (April 19-20) for my official. I think I'm going to go to Arizona and Kansas after that.
The Bootleg: How about your
timeline? Do you want to get the decision done before your senior season,
or maybe take longer as need be?
Dave Padgett: I think I'm just going to get done with the summer, and then next year decide in the beginning of my senior year. I'm not really in a big hurry right now, so I think I'll wait.
The Bootleg: With the Pumps this summer,
do you know where you'll be playing yet?
Dave Padgett: Obviously in Vegas, and then LA after that. I'll be going back to New Jersey for the ABCD, and going to Colorado Springs for the Olympic thing.
The Bootleg: You've mentioned a few
schools already. Have you gotten a feel yet, through unofficial visits and
communication, for some of the strengths you like with some of those programs?
Dave Padgett: No, I'm just going to keep it open between those top schools. I don't really want to favor yet. I'm going to wait and take my official visits and see how that goes.
The Bootleg: A lot has been made in the
media about how close you and Omar (Wilkes) are, and the speculation that you
might try to go somewhere together. Can you confirm how much truth there
is to that, or is it just something you consider on the side?
Dave Padgett: No, there's a lot of truth to that. We've talked about it seriously a few times. I think we're going to strongly going to look at going to the same school together. I don't think anyone is going to be surprised if we wind up at the same college.
The Bootleg: Are you two then actively
talking through this recruiting process about the letters you get and the
unofficials you take? Are you actually comparing notes together?
Dave Padgett: We went Stanford for the unofficial visit together, and we'll go to Kansas on our official together. After we do all of our visits, I think we'll sit down together and talk about it.
The Bootleg: If you had to give a top couple or few criterion you are using to evaluate schools and make this decision - playing time, tradition of coaching big men, academics, location, weather, etc - what