The following is a transcript of an interview conducted by RivalsHoops.com's Russ Blake yesterday at Blair Academy in New Jersey. Blake interviewed Luol Deng, RivalsHoops.com's second ranked player in the 2003 class.
Russ Blake: Were you at Duke with any other recruits?
Luol Deng: No. I was the only recruit there for the visit.
Russ Blake: Duke had a great recruiting class last year. They signed six players, Lee Melchionni walked on. How was your interaction with these players on the visit? Did they (Duke coaches) tell you with so many great players in the program, where would you fit in?
Luol Deng: They got six players but Lee is the only one that plays along the perimeter or at my spot. I like the guys there. I knew the guys before when I was at the NIKE camp or at AAU tournaments. So the way I fit in, basically a 6-7 or 6-8 guy along the wing that they don't have. That's how they see me. The other schools have points to say the same thing.
Russ Blake: So you would be a unique addition to any school on your list?
Luol Deng: Yes, I would.
Russ Blake: Can you talk about your Indiana visit? You went there with Charlie (Villanueva). How did they handle the visit with you and Charlie?
Luol Deng: To be honest I don't know where Charlie is going or what his decision is. We have spoken about it. We might end up going to the same school. And that's (IU) the only school we are both looking at. Yeah, maybe our decision is the same. But we have spoken about playing together and we don't have a problem with that. We enjoy it. So if it comes down that...where my choice is Indiana and his choice is Indiana, then I guess we are playing together again.
Russ Blake: Has Indiana appealed to that with you? That you and Charlie can play together. That you are great teammates.
Luol Deng: Yes. If we play together we can do something really big together being at the same school.
Russ Blake: How as the trip to Indiana?
Luol Deng: Their fans were amazing. The way they handled welcoming us to Bloomington. I knew about the tradition but I didn't know how wonderful the fans are and how crazy they are about basketball. It was a fun weekend to be there and was amazed how nice the guys are. I knew Bracey (Wright) and Marshall (Strickland) from NIKE camp. It was like spending a weekend with friends. I was very comfortable there. It was a good visit.
Russ Blake: It was only a month ago you visited Virginia. How does it affect your outlook since you visited other schools recently?
Luol Deng: I have tried to keep contact with the coaches. But it is hard to do that with all the schoolwork I have. Keeping in touch with them reminds me of the fun I had on my trip there. Virginia was my first visit and it is a long time ago. But it was my first visit and I got to learn what a college experience was like. All the schools are different. I can't say that Duke is like Indiana. Or Virginia was like Indiana. It still makes me remember Virginia because they are not the same.
Russ Blake: Can you take each school and briefly give your thoughts on them?
Luol Deng: My first visit Virginia had a different atmosphere. It was a very versatile campus in terms of race. So that was something about Virginia I really liked. There are a lot of international students there. There are a lot of different cultures over there. Missouri was a little different. It was kind of in the countryside. But I am in the countryside right now and I have been here for four years. So Missouri was kind of quiet. I like Missouri the way Quin Snyder has set things up. I like the books he has about the workouts. That really impressed me and the team. Indiana I really liked. It was a really big school. I like the fans a lot. I like the guys on the team. At Duke, especially the freshmen group I like. They are very organized in their practices and I like how the guys stick together.
Russ Blake: When you look at your situation, what are the factors that are going to shape your decision?
Luol Deng: I think no matter what I do I am going to graduate whether I really have a good year or good two years and I leave. I want to graduate. What I am looking in a school is a coach that I like to have as a friend. I don't look at a coach just as a coach. I want to be able to relate with and someone who I will keep in touch with no matter what the outcome of my career. And just the guys on the team. When you get along with everybody, it makes it easier. So I am looking at that too. Education is always a big factor too. But the schools I am looking at they are all good.