Duke's Diary: If I Knew Then What I Know Now…OH BOY!
Basketball was all I thought about back in the day. I dreamed of nothing but basketball. I just knew I had had all the answers coming out of high school. I had a plan, but I wasn’t prepared for the road blocks ahead.
It all began after a workout for high school players who had not signed or been offered a scholarship. Coaches from D-I, NAIA and Junior Colleges all over were there to work players out and try to find a “diamond in the rough” for their programs. I participated and I had an okay workout (nothing “phenom-like”)…but I was solid and I had a good workout. A few coaches approached me with the typical coach talk, saying, “you did well kid…have you made a decision on where you’re going to school yet?”
The next week a few letters came in the mail. I looked at some of them, but I had my mind set on a goal that I had set in the 7th grade with my best friend. We were going to play Division I basketball. I remember every time we did something good in practice or in a game, we would yell out “D-I baby.” Ironically, I had already been accepted into the University of Cincinnati to attend school as a regular student. I was pumped, but I still had some choices to make. Do I take an offer from a junior college, Division II or Division III school or do I attend (at the time) the number one ranked basketball school in the country, and take my chances as a walk-on?
I picked Cincinnati. That was a WAKE-UP CALL people! I turned down a free education, a chance to play right away, develop my game and get better versus trying to live out my childhood dream of playing for a D-I school. Not just a D-I, but the number one school in the country at the time. I was going to walk on with the likes of Danny Fortson (Seattle Supersonics), Ruben Patterson (Denver Nuggets) and Kenyon Martin (Denver Nuggets). It’s not surprising that all these guys turned out to be NBA players. But it was me just being “me” (that’s right, DUKE) and trying to live out my dream. Just for the record, UC did not have interest in me after I attended basketball camp there during the summer after my freshman year in high school.