Journeyman Trevon Duval Relishes Spotlight, Chance With USA Basketball
This has been a long time coming for Trevon Duval.
This is the 20th annual Nike Hoop Summit, and it will be Duval’s first official competition with USA Basketball. As one of four members on the USA roster who has participated in the past three USA Men’s Junior National Team October minicamps dating back to 2014, he’s the lone athlete listed to be without international experience with a USA national team.
That run ends on April 7, and that comes as a huge joy to Duval.
“I’m really excited to finally play with these guys against competition that counts, with USA across my chest. It’s been a long time coming for me,” he said.
Only Duval, Wendell Carter Jr., Michael Porter Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt participated in all three October minicamps since 2014, and in that time, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard climbed up the prospect ladder to become the No. 1 ranked court general in the country in the class of 2017 by ESPN.
“All of those experiences at the minicamps have helped me as a player by just going out there and playing with that high-level competition in the classes behind me, ahead of me and even in our class,” he added.
“There’s so much talent and so many other great players that I know I have to keep working. I feel that helped push me to get better and improve my game.”
Duval is the No. 3 overall prospect in the Rivals 150 and No. 4 in the ESPN 100, marking him as the top uncommitted player in the country at this time. The Wilmington, Delaware, native shares the national recruiting spotlight with fellow undeclared Nike Hoop Summit athletes Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox II.
“It brings a lot of attention, because everyone always wants to know what you’re thinking and where you want to go, but that doesn’t really phase me that much,” he said.
“This is just me waiting on the best decision for me. It’s not really that bad. I’m waiting to see where I fit and where I think I should go. It’s still a dream come true to even be recruited by colleges all over the country.”
The list for Duval is down to five – the University of Arizona, Baylor University, Duke University, University of Kansas and Seton Hall University.
The worst part, he notes, has been sorting through messages. He thinks coaches dislike that, too. But, he also knows every coach needs a point guard, especially one as shifty and quick as he is.
“I feel as if I can create for other players and get the ball where it needs to be to make the best shot or give us the best look. I feel like my playmaking ability is just really good.
“Each school recruiting me, they tell me they need a point guard, which I know they do. But, they try to make themselves different, so they may talk about some guys returning that will help them win a national championship or recruits coming in next year, and then they talk about things that fit me and the type of person I am. You just have to sort through all of that.”
He’s attempting to differentiate messages and narrow his options in the midst of a busy schedule, as Duval was selected to compete in the McDonald’s All-American Game, in addition to the Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic.
Oh, and his high school season with IMG Academy hasn’t concluded, either. On March 30, Duval and IMG will square off with Greensboro Day (N.C.) in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Basketball Tournament. IMG is 26-1 on the season and the No. 2-seed in the tournament entering play.
Dick’s Nationals is another notch for Duval, who believes he’s stepping onto the biggest stage of his young playing career over the course of these next few weeks.
His high school career up to this point saw him bounce around – from spending his sophomore year at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey, to Advanced International Prep in Dallas for his junior season, before landing in Bradenton, Florida, at IMG Academy for his senior year.
Duval moved to Texas, hoping to gain some basketball exposure away from home. A former AAU teammate joined Duval on the voyage to Dallas, where he averaged 16.8 points per game last season alongside 2016 USA Nike Hoop Summit athlete Terrance Ferguson. Packing up for Florida and IMG, “was just me finding out where a better spot would be for me – brand-wise and me branding myself the right way,” he said.
This road less traveled, Duval feels, was best for him, and now, he’s ecstatic about the opportunity to compete for a national championship.
“It was tough, traveling state-to-state and not really seeing my family much. But, I feel that it helped me mature as a young man and get better on the court, too. I think going through all of this has been a blessing in disguise, for me to just develop on and off the court.
“It’s the best record I’ve ever had in high school. It’s the first time I’ve played in Dick’s Nationals. It’s just been a good senior year with these teammates and everyone has been there supporting me. I’m excited to see what we can do.”
His focus is with IMG right now, he says, hoping to finish out his senior season with a national title. He’s already appeared on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays this season for a nasty slam over an unfortunate defender, so why not add some hardware?
Then, he hopes to make his college choice. April is his goal, but he’s not opposed to waiting until May.
Duval waited quite some time to put on the USA Basketball jersey. Holding out a bit longer to choose a school doesn’t phase him.
Don’t miss Duval and his USA teammates on April 7 from the Moda Center in Portland at the 20th annual Nike Hoop Summit. Get your tickets now: bit.ly/HoopSummitTix.