Jalen Lindsey: It was really great, and it was an honor. I'm pretty good friends with him, and we've talked a few times. It was good to see him and I was real happy for him that he made his decision. I have to say I was surprised that he chose Kansas, but I think he made the right decision and I'm excited to see what he does there.
Was it surprising because you thought he was going to choose another school?
Yeah because I kinda thought he'd go to Florida State, but I wasn't 100% for sure. That's where I thought he was going. He picked Kansas, and Kansas is a great school with a really good recruiting class coming in. I'm actually pretty excited to see how they play this year.
Was this your first time visiting Huntington Prep in person?
Yeah, it was my first time going to campus and getting to meet everybody there, and seeing some of the players I already knew. I thought it was great, it's a very small school, just around 140 students and it's a very small town, which I liked. It's going to help keep me focused. They gave me a good vibe, the people are fantastic there, I'm really excited.
What sparked the move for you?
You know, at my old school, we won back to back state championships and we hadn't lost to any Tennessee teams in the last couple of years. We had a great team and I have great respect for CPA, and for Coach Drew. He's the best coach I've ever played for, and he's a great God fearing man that God blessed me by putting him in my life. Still, it was something I felt I had to do to get better as a player and go into the next level better prepared. Huntington Prep can help me do that because they play the best teams in the country every night and I'm looking forward to that.
Improving as a player--where do you feel like you need to grow?
I definitely need to work on ball-handling because I am still working on playing at a high level at the 3/2 position. My entire life I've always been the tallest guy, so I've played the 4 and the 5 for the teams I've played on so I am still definitely learning how to play as a three, and that includes my ball-handling. My shooting has gotten a lot better and it's still improving. I need a lot more work, strength wise, once I get those three things down, I'll be set.
When did you get your start playing organized ball and when did you know that you were a really good player?
Probably fifth grade, that's when I started playing basketball with teams, but I wasn't really good until eighth grade when I realized, this basketball thing is something I love to do and something I wanted to do in the future and that's when I started getting serious about it. In the eighth grade, I was able to make varsity at CPA. Then I got my first offer in the ninth grade from Memphis and it just started going on and on on from there.
I saw you got the invite to the Kevin Durant Skills Academy--how do you feel about that?
I feel really great because it is such a great honor, but the bad thing about it is I can't make it to the camp because I'm going to Africa when it's going on. It's a great honor, I'm bummed I can't go because it is a great honor to be invited, but my family is taking a trip to Africa and I couldn't pass that opportunity up.
A trip to Africa?
Yeah, it doesn't come around often, and not a lot of people will ever be able to say that they took a trip to Africa. There's a family at my school that I'm really really close with for four years now and they decided to take me and some buddies and a whole bunch of other people on a two week mission trip to Africa in June, I'm really excited.
Is this a church-related type trip since you mentioned it's a "mission trip"?
It's not so much a church trip, we're going with a group called 147 Million Orphans, they have their own organization, and they do stuff like this. It's my first time going, I'm real excited. We're going to Uganda.
Have they laid out what you guys are doing?
They haven't yet too much, we're going to go there and basically and do a lot of work everyday, we're going to build houses, we're going to do camps with kids, we'll babysit kids, we'll go on safari's, it's going to be a great trip, I can't wait.
What makes you want to take time out for a trip like this when most guys your age would just want to hang out and take it easy during the summer?
You know, I love the game, I love playing basketball and being in the gym, but you know, I feel like going to Africa, it's a life changing experience. I've heard people come back from there and have been changed in a good way. I don't know when I'm able to go to Africa again so I kinda feel like this is an opportunity that God has put in front of me and I'm going to take it. It's a learning experience, I feel that's why I'm taking out the time, even during an important time like with the KD Camp, I feel like God is calling me to take this trip and that's why I'm going.
What other events and camps are you participating in this summer?
I'm going to NBA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville before the trip, then I'm going to miss the KD camp, and then when I get back, hopefully I get an invite to LeBron's camp, hopefully I can get invited to that.
You are recognized this year as one of the better wings in your class, does that affect your approach to camps and events or could you care less about that?
You know, I couldn't care less. It's an honor that people consider me in that way and it helps me stay motivated, but I could care less about playing for rankings, where I want to be. I have to stay humble and keep grinding, that's my mindset going into these events, just to get better as a player.
Recruiting wise--can you describe who your support network is who is helping you with this process?
Definitely my family, and and my Head Coach at CPA, they have been supporting me and have been telling me to choose the school that's right for me. They haven't been pulling me towards any particular school, they are just helping me keep it organized and not get messed up with the process. My old coach, me and Coach Drew, we've had a relationship since like sixth grade or so, he's kinda like a best friend and he's going to stay involved in my recruitment and help me through it.
What does your former high school coach advise you on relative to this process?
He tells me to look at the type of the school, the type of coach, the environment, and that kind of thing. My dream is the NBA, so he tells me to find a coach that will get me NBA prepared, so that's what I'm looking at.
What's your timetable when it comes to going pro once you are in college?
I don't have a timetable, really. If I'm a one year guy and I know absolutely 100% in my heart that I'm ready to go, then I will go and I would love to do that, but if I'm not, I'm going to go back to college and keep coming back until I feel 100% in my heart that I'm ready to go. I don't have any timetable, it's just what I'm going to feel in my heart when I'm 100% ready to go and be able to do well.
Is draft slotting a consideration in that?
I think that has something to do with it, if they tell me I'm going to be a top 10 pick, I may have to take that and ask myself at the end of the year if I'm good enough to be able to go, 100%, because that will definitely be a factor.
Do you already have feelings about coaches that are recruiting you that you know without a doubt would do a good job at preparing you to go to the NBA?
I really don't think, I know a bunch of coaches who do, but I don't have relationships with the head coaches that I'm going to yet, so I haven't taken any official visits yet, I have to see for myself later on in the recruiting process.
Can you elaborate on the not having relationships with coaches yet?
I'm saying that I already have relationships with coaches, but I'm not saying that there are coaches that I don't have a relationship with yet that I'm hoping to, it's more that I haven't taken any visits yet and I want to see some of these coaches on campus and see who they are and what they have.
Can you run down the list of the head coaches that you are personally interacting with?
That's hard, but I've talked with Coach Cooley at Providence, and I've talked with Coach Pitino before, there's a few more that I can't remember off the top my head. I'm not, I'm here to take calls and texts from coaches, but the main stuff is happening with my dad and my coach, while I'm still in school. I'm concentrating on getting better as a player, so they let me know when it's time to talk with the coaches, but they handle the bulk of this for me. I don't ask a lot of question but if I do have them, I will ask. They tell me what they think I need to know, if I have questions, I'm not hesitant to ask
What kind of questions do you see yourself asking related to this process?
One of the big things is academics in my process, you never know when basketball is going to end. That's one of my big questions, what are the relationships with the coaches and players, are they a coach you can go talk to and feel good about it, so a family type atmosphere is something I'm looking into as well.
Do you have a degree program you are interested in?
As of now, I don't know, I've been saying I could see myself doing a Business major, but that could change at any time.
Yeah, but I also said that I don't know yet when I'm taking those visits because I really haven't talked with my dad yet about that. Honestly, I really have no idea when I will take visits anybody, but would I like to take visits there, yes. I still need to talk with my dad and some of the coaches to see if they want me to come visit. Once I talk with my dad, that's when we'll release to the public where I'm going to visit.
Interest wise--can you rate where North Carolina, Kentucky and Duke are with you in terms of their expressed interest?
Duke, is a medium, and UNC is a low to medium because they have Justin Jackson and Joel Berry. I'm not really sure where they are standing…I can't tell you. UK is a sort of medium, I hear from Coach Antigua a lot and I've seen Coach Calipari before at games.
Can you elaborate on your sliding scale of interest, and what you mean by medium?
Medium wise, they more text me and give me a call like every month or so, so it's not a lot. They will come up to the gym and see us shoot around, but then I won't hear from them for a few months or I'll see them at EYBL events, stuff like that. Duke and Kentucky are along the same lines in that way interest wise.
Recruiting plans are developing with schools now for your class--are you talking with guys in your class about playing together?
Yeah, I have talked with a few but I don't want to release that at this time because I don't want things to get twisted. We haven't said anything for sure, it's more it'd be fun to go together, but we haven't made a final decision yet, but it'd be great to maybe play together with a few guys in the future, but we don't know yet.
Is there hesitation regarding UNC and your potential role there since you mentioned Justin Jackson and Joel Berry being committed there?
Oh no, there's not hesitation at all, I would be honored to get an offer from UNC. I'm just saying that Justin Jackson plays my position, so they are not recruiting me as hard for the wing position because they already have a guy committed there at that spot. I'm not saying I'm hesitant, I like UNC, but they have Justin Jackson at that three spot, so they have not recruited me as hard because they have who they want at the 3 position already. I don't know if that's the for sure answer why they aren't recruiting me as hard, that's just a possibility you know ?
Do you see a similar type situation at the 3 spot at Duke and Kentucky?
Yeah, I feel like it's the same with those schools too, they already have guys at the position or they are recruiting guys at the three who maybe they like more than they like me, but I use that as motivation for myself.
As any school actually said that's the situation--that they like other wings more than they like you?
They haven't named names or anything, but I know. I've been playing AAU with the top players for a long time, so they've been telling me for awhile now what schools are recruiting them the hardest, which ones are showing up all the time, so I hear that stuff and know that some of those players play the same position as I do, so that tells you right there which players might be viewed by the colleges as better than me, and who they want more.
It sounds like the depth chart is a primary concern for you?
Yeah, I definitely want to go in and play. I don't want to go in and be a backup on the wing to another freshman coming in. I don't mind being a backup, if I have to be, but I want to go somewhere I can play, but if there's somebody who is already committed at my position in the same class, I might re-think that and see what else is available.
Do you feel you have a better situation depth chart wise at schools recruiting you outside of North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky?
Yeah, but I don't know for sure. My dad does though, he's got it all written down, all the schools recruiting me, who they are recruiting, who is committed, he has it all on this sheet, I have to look at that. There's some schools who I have told me I'd be fine to play there, but you don't ever really know for sure until you see, that's why my dad keeps up with that stuff.
Is there a timetable in place for your decision since you sound so organized with this process?
No, there's not really a timetable, I haven't thought about it, I've been taking it slow. I've been focusing on getting through this school year, getting through the summer, getting settled in at Huntington Prep, that's where I'm taking it slow, there's no timetable or anything.
Take me inside the Duke recruitment, which members of the staff have you talked with?
Coach Nate James. He's talked with me a few times via text and me playing with Grayson Allen before he committed to Duke, and he had actually put in a word with them and Duke had reached out to me and said they had actually seen me play before and they said they liked how I played. This was actually during the state tournament, they've kinda slowed since then. They have slowed down via text since then, and they haven't reached out much, but they are a great team and Coach James has been talking with me and Coach K and Coach James have been at a few of my Nike EYBL games watching me, so it's been good.
Did you have a reaction to playing in front of Coach K or was it just another coach for you?
To me, it's Coach K. Coach K is a great coach, but for me, it's just another coach because I've had so many coaches like Coach K, Coach Cal, Coach Self and so many others watching me, so I just try to put them all aside when I'm playing and I don't want that to affect my game, so I don't think about that and I just play.
What's your thoughts on the Duke program before and after their interest?
I've always thought they are a great school, they have a great program with a great coach who has gotten a lot of guys NBA prepared, there's been a lot of great players who have come out of there. I've got the utmost respect for Coach K, his teams, his coaches, they are a great school.
Visit wise-is there anything happening with this summer?
Me and my dad were talking about trying to take some visits, but we don't know where yet, we don't have anything lined up yet. My schedule is so busy, it's really hard to fit something in, it might be during the school year, we'll see.