Deacs Show Interest In Safford

While the Demon Deacons are running low on scholarships for the 2007 class, they are still after a few prospects. Patrick Patterson and Gary Clark are two they've shown a lot of interest in, but they've also courted Justin Safford.

Justin Safford's senior season hasn't gone like he expected. Although he is averaging 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks per game for Goldsboro (NC) Charis Prep, he's had to deal with an injury to his shooting wrist.

"It's been a year with a little bit of adversity," Charis Prep Coach Carlos Peralta said. "I say that because of his broken wrist, but even that has been a blessing in disguise because he had to play for a month with his off hand. He had to do everything with his off hand and it's made him tougher."

Even with a broken wrist, Safford's managed to upgrade his recruitment. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound SF/PF went from contemplating an offer from Illinois Wesleyan to getting scholarship offers from Winthrop, Oklahoma, Missouri, Xavier, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.

Safford is also receiving heavy interest from Wake Forest, Nevada, Miami-FL, Bradley and Illinois. So what's the big draw? His coach says his ability to play multiple positions has drawn the eye of college coaches.

"He's a three or four. He probably leans towards a three. When he first came he was strictly a three, but we went to work with taking advantage of his 6-9 height and taught him how to put somebody in jail down low and taught him a bit of a low post game."

"He certainly has the skill to play out on the perimeter and he causes a lot of match up problems."

According to Peralta, Safford has taken several unofficial visits, but has yet to take an official visit. His most recent visit was to Wake Forest for their game against North Carolina January 24th.

"He was invited to the game against North Carolina right after the break. He enjoyed it very much and he's very impressed with Coach Prosser. I don't want to speak for him, because he's interested in a lot of different programs, but there was something that really caught his eye about Wake Forest.

"He was impressed in particular with the way Coach Prosser approached him. He didn't try to do a used car salesman approach. He was very direct and didn't make any excuses for the blow out game that we had just watched. He liked him."

The plan is for Safford to finish out the season without making a decision. He will then trim his list to five schools and begin taking official visits.


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