A player without the proper level of interest coming out of high school Anthony Duruji is poised to make a major name for himself at the University of Florida. After committing on Monday I was able to ask him a few questions about his decision to become a Gator.
EF: Thanks for your time Anthony! Appreciate you doing this. Can you first tell everyone where you’re from and what your journey in basketball has been that lead you to Louisiana Tech and now to Florida?
AD: I’m from Germantown, Maryland which is right outside Washington, D.C. I didn’t really have a recruitment process out of high school, I committed early and didn’t take any visits. Wasn’t the wisest decision but everything worked out for the better and I’m just thankful for everything.
EF: Your athleticism has gotten you a whole lot of publicity and your dunking ability kept me mesmerized as I went through your film. Were you always an incredible athlete or was it something you developed?
AD: Yes I was always athletic, I get it from my mom. She played basketball for Nigeria and ran track. I also did track in high school which developed my athleticism more. My senior year at one point I was top in the nation in triple jump. Jumped 49 feet.
EF: Wow! That’s impressive and that athleticism shows on the court. Last summer you showed off your leaping ability by measuring a 46.5” vertical leap which would have crushed anyone at the NBA combine with Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Okogie both posting 42” to lead the way. Do you think you have the best vert in college basketball and if you measured 46.5” last summer, what do you think you’re at now?
AD: Yeah, it shocked me too (laughs). I’m not sure about the best, I’m sure there’s other guys out there who jump just as high or better. I’m not sure how high it is now that the season is over and not a lot of weight training. But still very bouncy.
EF: Well I’m definitely looking forward to whenever you test again (laughs). So when did you first get in touch with the Gators’ coaching staff?
AD: (laughs). And I got in touch with them about a week after I put my name in the portal.
EF: What ultimately made you choose the Gators?
AD: I love the fit and it’s a great atmosphere and a place that can develop and help me reach my goals. Great resources, facilities, good coaches and teammates, play style, etc.
EF: Is there any chance you and the Gators are going to make an attempt at a waiver for you to play next season or is the standard redshirt transfer in order?
AD: I believe I have to redshirt as of now.
EF: What do you think the next dimension of your game to work on it? What will you be focusing on next in your development?
AD: I will focus on better my ability to create for myself and expand my skill set. Want to improve my free throw shooting, ball handling, and keep getting better overall.
EF: Are there any players you try to model your game after or someone you find yourself enjoying watching?
AD: I enjoy watching Kawhi Leonard, I like his game.
EF: What does it mean for you to be a high major basketball player? Is it a level you always thought you deserved to play at or do you think it’s a standard you have grown into?
AD: I feel like I’ve always been a high major kid but my recruitment process the first time around wasn’t the best like I said. But I’ve continued to get better and carry myself with humility through the process and when my opportunity came I took advantage of it. I’ve always been under the radar and never had exposure earlier on. Just trying to keep getting better.
EF: Florida should give you every opportunity to get you the exposure you deserve! What are your goals in basketball you’d like to achieve?
AD: No doubt! And I want to be a star in the NBA one day.
EF: I can’t wait to see where basketball takes you! Thanks for your time! I’ll be in touch.
AD: Likewise, no problem, thank you!
An intelligent young man with an explosive play style on the floor, Duruji is set up to have a great career and be a fan favorite in Gainesville. You can follow him on Twitter at @Anthony_Duruji.