Continuing to Perform

While forward Amile Jefferson, a 5-star prospect in the Class of 2012 and the No. 4 player at his position in his class, says he doesn't feel pressure to make a decision any time soon, he knows his solid play is going to continue to earn him notice.

Jefferson is in Morgantown, W.Va., for the annual Hoop Group Jam Fest AAU tournament, playing with his Team Philly 2012 squad.

But that's only the latest stop in what has been a summer full of chances to impress coaches and other onlookers at some of the most prestigious events in the country. Jefferson took part in the Adidas Nations camp before heading off to the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va.

And Team Philly 2012 has, of course, been making the rounds on the AAU circuit.

"Pretty much anything that went on, we were probably there," Jefferson, a product of Friends' Central School in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood, Pa., said.

And the 6-foot-7, 185-pound forward has made the most of every opportunity. He had plenty of eyes on him Wednesday night in his first of two games at Jam Fest, as coaches from most of the schools on his lengthy offer list were there to watch.

West Virginia, the de facto host for the Jam Fest event, was represented by a large contingent. Head coach Bob Huggins was joined by assistant coach Billy Hahn in the "coaches only" area at one end of the floor.

At the other end, several Mountaineer players, including Joe Mazzulla, Truck Bryant, Casey Mitchell and Kevin Jones were at the WVU student recreation center to watch Jefferson play.

Coaches from several other schools were glued to Team Philly 2012's game as well. Jefferson claims an offer sheet that includes La Salle, Georgetown, Miami, Penn State, St. Joseph's, Syracuse, Temple, Villanova, Wake Forest and West Virginia, among others.

Watching Jefferson play, it's easy to see what all the fuss is about.

He has a very developed back-to-the-basket game for a player of his age, showing a wide variety of moves to free himself in the post for easy baskets. He runs the floor well and hustles everywhere, has a knack for getting to the ball and is an excellent finisher. He has a solid jump shot, as well.

"My biggest strength would probably be my ability to work the post and pass the ball," Jefferson said. "I'm still learning how to really put the ball on the floor at all points in time, and I think that's progressing."

"I'm a real vocal guy, and I think that helps a lot, to talk to my teammates and cheer them up when we're down and get them in the mood to fight back, or if somebody is down, to pick them up. I'm trying to have a very versatile game, where I can kind of do it all." Indeed, he is focused on adding to his already considerable skill-set throughout the summer.

"I definitely have been working the most on my ball-handling skills and progressing my game to the wing and being not only a back-to-the-basket player," Jefferson said. "We're working on my handle, working on passing at full speed, working on shooting that little jump shot. Things like that will help me move my game from the four to the three."

While Jefferson has a variety of post moves that suits him well to the power forward spot, his body is a bit slight in build for the physical nature of that position.

That showed at times Wednesday, as Jefferson drew hard foul after hard foul in the block, and he showed a bit of frustration on one occasion with the punishment being doled out in his direction.

"My strength is definitely one of my biggest weaknesses," he admitted. "You can see, if you get up early, guys will start pushing on you and start trying to bully. That's something I haven't gotten used to."

"I try to learn how to play around it, but sometimes it still gets to me, because they are stronger than me and they know that, so they try to beat me up. So strength in the game is going to be a big part of me getting better."

But Jefferson said no coaches have put pressure on him to transition his game to the wing, where he could avoid that kind of rough-and-tumble game and his height could favor him.

"I'm only about 6-8 and I have pretty good post moves, but in learning how to put the ball on the floor, I'll be more of a versatile player," Jefferson said. "If a guy is bigger than me, I'll be able to take him out, hit that little jump shot, take him off the dribble, things like that to get my game up, make it a little bit easier."

As for recruiting, Jefferson said despite all the attention being thrown his way, he doesn't feel any pressure to make a decision as quickly as possible. He has only been on a handful of unofficial visits, and said the people around him have done a good job of allowing him to focus on improving his game instead of recruiting.

Jefferson said he doesn't have a "dream" school. And as for the Mountaineers, whose campus he was on for the second time (after having been to the same Hoop Group tournament a year ago as well), he said the attention he has received is humbling.

"I know this is a very prestigious school," he said. "I know how good this school is and how they combine academics and basketball, and how the fans come out and support them whether they're up 20 or down 20. I know how great of an athletic program they have. Just to be getting interest from a school like this is an honor."

And while some prospects talk about recruiting being a distraction and something they can't wait to get behind them, Jefferson seems to have managed to avoid getting too involved in the process just yet.

"So far, it hasn't been too crazy," he said. "Some people say pressure is going to start coming, but it hasn't been too much pressure yet. So right now, it's just, you know, I'm having fun. I'm enjoying myself."

"Hopefully by the end of the summer, me and my family, my father, we'll be able to sit down and put this into some sort of perspective. Right now, I'm just living in it."

"I haven't actually stepped back yet and, you know, really figured out what I want to do or even taken time to think about how big of an opportunity this is right now, how great of an opportunity I have. So right now, I'm just focusing on getting better every day and every game. I'm not trying to take any time off. I just want to get better."

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