When Deshawn Painter was on the road traveling the country this spring and summer on the AAU and camp circuit, everyone back home in Norfolk, Va., heard the tall tales of his improvement. Now the five-star forward is ready to show the locals that the stories are true.
Painter, a 6-foot-8 big man from Booker T. Washington High School, enjoyed one of the best summers of any big man on the 16 and under circuit. Now he's ready to prove himself amongst his friends and family.
"I'm real excited to show people how much better I've got," Painter said. "I think I've gotten a lot better. I worked hard at it. I feel better. I am much stronger. It's going to be interesting to see.
"I never thought I would come this far. I'm real excited. This is the most improvement I've ever had. I can't wait so they can see it so they can know that it is true. I have a monkey on my back. It's a real big one. I'm talking about a real big one. A lot of people are talking smack but that's what I live for. That's what keeps me going. I just go for it. Why not? I went for it in the summer and I'll go for it again this year. I'm like a little kid about it. I can't wait. People are going to just have to see."
Coaches aren't waiting to see. North Carolina, Ohio State, Florida, Louisville, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson and "all of the local schools" have been in to see him so far this fall, he said.
Painter tripped to Virginia Tech earlier in the fall and said he is planning on making a trip to Duke during the basketball season.
"I'm not in a rush, I'm going to take my time," he said. "These schools coming by make me want to keep striving to get better and keep working. I have something to look forward. A lot of people don't have that. A lot of kids my age play basketball around here and I feel really blessed that all of these things are happening to me. I just count my blessings."
Painter said he has offers from Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Ohio State, Virginia and Virginia Tech to date.
"They all look good to me. I'm basically open. They all look the same," Painter said. "I want to find somewhere with my major, psychology, and they play my style of play. I think I can play the inside, outside kind of game. I want to play like that."
For the time being, Painter said he's focusing his interest on getting ready for the year. Why not? The season begins with a game against Oak Hill Academy and a game against St. Benedict's (N.J.) is on the schedule.