It’s not that Dylan Cardwell thought that it was out of the realm of possibility, but when he got the call, “it was still a shock.”
On Wednesday, Duke reached out to Cardwell to express their interest in the 6-foot-11 forward.
“I knew that I was having a big summer, but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know it would lead to schools like Duke reaching out,” Cardwell said. “We had a good conversation, they were telling me that they felt like I could be a guy that would fit in on and off the court. They told me that they loved how I rebound and block shots at a high rate, finished with both hands and just play high energy ball.”
Cardwell has thrived all-around this season with AOT (Georgia) in the Nike EYBL, averaging seven points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a game.
In addition to the Blue Devils, that production has drawn the interest of N.C. State, Connecticut, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Providence, Cincinnati, Northwestern and Virginia Tech.
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“Just being with AOT this summer has really elevated my game,” Cardwell said. “We do pool workouts and a lot of Vertimax and that just helps build my athleticism so much. Also, just playing with Sharife (Cooper) has made the game so easy. He commands a lot of attention because he’s a great player and he just sees plays so far ahead of everyone else. We’ve built a pretty strong chemistry.”
Cardwell will continue that chemistry next high school season; transferring from Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Virginia) to McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Georgia) for his senior year.
Cooper won ALL-USA Player of the Year after leading the Indians to a 32-0 record last season and No. 3 overall in the USA Today Super 25.
The addition of Cardwell will keep the Indians in the conversation for the top tier of the Super 25 next season.
“I’ve gotten a whole lot better this summer and I want to keep going that route with my skill-set,” Cardwell said. “I just want to get the training that I’ve been getting this summer with AOT and that’s easier at McEachern. Plus, I’ll still be playing with Sharife so that’s big, and it’s just easier for my mom and grandfather to see me play a lot more. It’s just the best move for my situation.”
For now, Cardwell said he’s focused on helping AOT win Peach Jam, which runs from July 10-14.
“I just want to go out there and play every game like it’s my last,” Cardwell said. “That’s just how I’m approaching it. The interest from Duke was great, but all of the coaches recruiting me have been telling me that they’ll be watching at Peach Jam so I’m planning to leave it all out of the floor.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY