INDIANAPOLIS – Forgive DJ Harvey if he’s a little behind his own recruiting schedule. He’s had a busy few months.
The 6-foot-6 wing who is ranked among the top 20 players in the 2017 class had hoped to have his list of potential schools pared down to single digits by the AAU season, but here he is, seven games into Nike’s EYBL circuit, and he’s still “wide open” and listening to a host of college coaches pitch their programs.
In fairness, he was helping his high school team, Washington, D.C.-area powerhouse DeMatha, win the Maryland Private Schools title. He earned honorable mention honors on the Washington Post‘s prestigious All-Met basketball team, too.
“It’s kind of late to cut it down,” said Harvey, who is averaging 10.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game so far this spring with D.C.-based Team Takeover.
“It’s a difficult process.”
Harvey said he has embraced the craziness of it all, though. With a tweet in January, Harvey thanked “50-plus” schools and coaches who recruited him and narrowed his list of suitors down to 16 programs, including Louisville.
That came after a barnstorming tour of some of the top programs in the country over the past few months. Harvey made “unofficial” visits – visits paid for by the prospect, not the school – to Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, Villanova and Virginia, among others.
That’s a lot for a high school kid, but Harvey seemed to take it in stride.
“Not many kids have the opportunity to go all around the country,” Harvey said. “There’s thousands of basketball players – to be recognized in the top 20 is an honor in itself.”
The Louisville connections run deep for Harvey, though recruiting analysts view Arizona and Duke as the early favorites in the chase to sign him.
Harvey first met U of L associate head coach Kenny Johnson as a high school freshman. Johnson was the assistant director and head of travel and logistics for Team Takeover for six years before entering the college ranks in 2011, and he is close friends with the 17-and-under team’s coach, Keith Stevens, who along with Harvey’s parents is helping the blue chipper with his recruiting process.
Harvey also spent last summer playing with Louisville-bound freshman VJ King, forming one of the top wing duos on Nike’s AAU circuit. And King, Harvey said, is “always trying to recruit me to Louisville with him.”
“VJ’s my guy,” Harvey said. He is “a good guy. He’s a great teammate as well.”
The pitch from Louisville is simple: By the time Harvey is ready to start his college career, the coaching staff anticipates a lot of openings on the perimeter. Rising sophomores Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel are expected to have significant roles this coming season, and with their pro potential, there’s no guarantee they’ll be on Louisville’s roster for the 2017-18 campaign.
“Perimeter play is going to be there,” Harvey said the Cards coaches tell him, “and you need to come right in and produce.”
There was one early hiccup in Harvey’s process with Louisville: He was in town for his unofficial visit when Katina Powell’s book with salacious allegations against former U of L staffer Andre McGee was published online.
But Harvey said he “loved” the visit regardless, and he added that he’s “looking forward to going again.”
Because of all that, Harvey said Louisville is in good shape to make that “single digit” list of schools he’s working on.
In the meantime, he’s planning to take the SAT and hoping to find his legs a little bit on the busy AAU circuit. Team Takeover was 5-2 through Sunday morning, but Harvey said he wasn’t making the shots he normally makes or finishing the way he normally does.
“We’re going up against the best dudes in the country,” Harvey said. “The tempo is a lot faster and a lot more physical. (It’s) just taking some time – still playing well, (but) I could play a lot better.”