CHICAGO -- T.J. Leaf started off the July live evaluation period with a strong showing at the adidas Unrivaled Camp in Chicago. A recent target of Duke, the Class of 2016 forward from Foothills Christian High School in El Cajon, California recently moved into the No. 10 spot in Scout.com's national rankings for his class.
Being a five-star prospect, the 6-foot-10 Leaf was one of the main attractions at the adidas Camp and he spoke with TDD about his summer and the recruiting process. Leaf was watched by Duke coaches for multiple days at the event, in-part because the forward was on the same team as Duke target Chase Jeter.
Leaf enjoyed the camp experience and all that it had to offer.
"It's a great camp. It's always great fun to play with some of the best players in the country," Leaf told TDD. "I know a lot of these guys and they're all really great so it's always a good experience to be able to come and show what you can do against other top guys."
Although Leaf was selected for the camp's underclass All-Star Game, he sat out the final day and a half of camp as a precautionary measure after coming down hard on a breakaway dunk. Leaf was okay, but walked gingerly around the Quest Multisport facility. When he was playing, though, Leaf had the benefit of playing alongside Jeter and the two made for a tough inside-outside front court to stop.
"It's definitely really nice. I've never really played with a guy like him," Leaf said of Jeter. "If you get blown by you can kinda gamble a little bit more defensively. And offensively, he'll also have your back so it's really good to play with him."
Much has been made about Leaf's versatility on the offensive end of the floor. At 6-foot-10, Leaf can make shots well beyond three-point range while also being able to put the ball on the floor a little bit. Because of this, college coaches are recruiting Leaf in a couple of different spots and Leaf sees himself the same way.
"I see myself as a three or a stretch four who can play multiple positions," Leaf said. "In high school I play the two through four, even sometimes the one, so I'm very versatile."
Leaf told TDD that he has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, San Diego State and Texas while also getting serious interest from Duke, Louisville and Michigan State. With so many of the nation's best programs recruiting him, Leaf is taking his time with the recruiting process.
"The recruitment's going really well. It's going really hard," Leaf said. "A lot of the coaches that have seen me believe that I'm a three or a stretch four. I like a lot of programs out there. So there's probably 10-to-15 I really like. I like a lot of teams."
Duke has been in frequent contact with Leaf and assistant coach Jon Scheyer has made the forward a priority. He doesn't own an offer from Duke, yet, but Leaf is hearing a lot from the Blue Devil coaching staff.
"They've been on me pretty hard. Just as hard as everyone but they haven't offered me yet," Leaf said. "I talk to Coach Scheyer pretty much every day, I talk to Coach K every once in awhile. So they're on me really hard and I hope they offer soon."
Leaf mentioned to TDD that he has some unofficial visits planned to Arizona and Arizona State in August and he would also like to see some other programs if he gets the chance. There are also a couple of factors the forward is looking for in a future program.
"Play style, coaches, what coach I'm going to be playing for and if they're there for awhile, just how they recruit me and what kind of people they are, too. Education is always important too," Leaf said.
Duke might not have offered Leaf a scholarship at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how much the coaching staff tracks him in the next two weeks during the July recruiting period.