One of the better stories of the spring and summer was the development of T.J. Warren and how he's taken the necessary steps to maximize his potential.
The 6-foot-7 Durham, N.C., native who is now at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster will start the official visit process this weekend with a trip to Raleigh to check out North Carolina State.
But, before he starts his visits, Warren took some time to reflect on his rise from well-thought-of to elite prospect, his move to Brewster, what he likes about each of his final five schools and his timetable for making a decision.
A physical small forward who can shoot the ball well from all levels, Warren was always known for getting buckets. But, during the summer he took things to an entirely new level and was consistently dominant rather than just really good for flashes. The key was a change in attitude.
"I just changed my mentality and mindset to how I approached the game," Warren told Rivals.com. "I just wanted to go out and dominate the best competition at every event during the summer. It was my last summer and I feel like I did that and kept getting better and better every day."
The key for Warren, though, was keeping that focus heading into his senior year. As a result, he decided to make the switch to Brewster. Not just for the terrific NEPSAC competition and loaded roster, but for how the environment fosters productivity and hard work.
"Here at Brewster everybody in the community is great," said Warren. "It's a new experience living away from home and everybody is nice. The administration and teachers are all very supportive and attentive and really want to help you."
Moving on to his list of schools, the nation's No. 23-ranked player in the class of 2012 broke down what he liked about Florida (visit TBD), Georgetown (visit TBD) Kentucky (10/14 visit), N.C State (visit this weekend) and North Carolina (10/7 visit).
N.C. State- "The coaching staff, I just want to get to know them better and see how they run their system. It is a new staff and I want to see how they run things and the way they look in a game. They've been recruiting me real hard, checking in on me at least every other week and they've probably been in contact the most, them and Carolina."
North Carolina- "First, North Carolina has a very good business school. Roy Williams has been on me a real long time now. I've been keeping in contact with them a long time. It's a dream school basically. Everybody wants to go to a school like North Carolina and it was an honor for them to offer me a scholarship when I was there on an unofficial visit."
Kentucky- "Coach Cal is a great coach and he knows what he's doing in terms of getting guys ready for the next level. What he's done for his players the last few years and preparing them has really opened my eyes with what he can do. They've got a great up-and-down system and he lets his players play and lets his scorers score. I'm a scorer so I like that."
Florida- "Coach (Billy) Donovan and coach (Norm) Roberts have been on me recruiting me hard and they've been at all the tournaments and up to see me. Coach Donovan knows how to win and I love winning. I like what he's done in bringing out the versatility and best in all of his past players."
Georgetown- "Coach (John) Thompson and coach (Kenya) Hunter have been good with me and they are a great staff. It's a great school both academically and athletically. The program is good and the halfcourt the system fits me well in terms of moving in the halfcourt and using screens to get me open. The system is different than the other schools, but I think I could do well in it."
While the visits that he's set up would suggest that Warren is thinking an early decision, he's actually planning the opposite. He's not planning to wait all the way until the spring to decide, but he will probably wait until at least into the early winter before making a decision and then signing in April.
As for the decision, it's all about continuing to do everything he can to maximize his potential.
"I just want to go somewhere that brings out my full potential on the court. I want to go where I can get along with the coaching staff and players personality wise. Also, somewhere I can make a big impact right away and have somebody that is going to push me everyday."