ATLANTA – For even casual followers of elite high school basketball players, the fact that IMG Academy’s (Bradenton, Fla.) Trevon Duval is planning to play just one year of college basketball before declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft won’t prompt a jaw-drop.
He’s the No. 1 point guard in the ESPN 100, where he’s also ranked No. 5 overall, and reputable NBA Draft sites project him to be a lottery pick. Duval was selected to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Preseason Boys Basketball Team.
That he will be shaking hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a forgone conclusion.
Still, in the past, Duval said he’s witnessed the politically correct responses from elite high school basketball players who claimed to be open to the traditional college four-year plan.
“I would always be like, ‘Huh?” said Duval, who scored 24 points, swiped five steals and handed out six assists to lead No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) past Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) Friday night at the Holiday Hoopsgiving. “People have to do whatever they feel is best for them, but, for me, I always said I’m just gonna be honest.”
He’s not alone in that regard, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix) 7-foot center DeAndre Ayton has also expressed his intentions to leave Arizona after one year and enter the draft.
Still, the vast majority of seniors who are projected to be lottery picks or first rounders tend to leave the door open on attending college for multiple years.
“Yeah, I just feel like it helps everyone when you’re just open and honest from the beginning,” said Duval, who recently cut his list to Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Baylor and Seton Hall. “I guess I understand why guys don’t want to put it out that they’re planning to just stay in college for one year, but it’s important that I am up front because it’s more important for me to be in the best position to succeed. I want to win and I want to have the right pieces so we’re able to do that before I leave.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY