D.J. Carton gives the scoop on the latest with his recruitment, including his growing relationship with Kansas head coach Bill Self. Matthew Bain, Sports writer
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — There were two sides to D.J. Carton at the annual Justin Sharp Memorial Shootout on Friday.
First, he showed off the explosive athleticism that helped him gain a fifth star this spring, rising up for several highlight dunks in Bettendorf's opening game versus Rock Falls.
At the same time, Carton also showed the humility and self-awareness that made him an easy pick for the U18 National Team Trials and NBPA Top 100 Camp. On one fastbreak in the second half, Carton whizzed a pass beyond his teammate's reach.
"That's on me, Carter," he immediately yelled as he jogged back on defense. "My bad."
An elite athlete with a team-first attitude. It's not the most common combination.
And it's why more and more colleges continue to enter his recruitment.
Wichita State is the latest power program to express interest in Carton, he said. The Shockers reached out to him and his coaches this week.
Duke and North Carolina haven't contacted Carton, but they've told people within his circle that they'll watch him play during the July evaluation periods. Kansas head coach Bill Self has remained in contact with and recruited Carton since coaching him at the U18 National Team Trials.
"Out of those schools, they all do one thing: They win," Carton told the Register of the new programs looking at him. "They help you get to your future. They’re all great academic schools. That’s definitely something to look into. I feel like I have high interest for those types of universities, so it’s definitely something that will spark my interest."
Carton, who has pushed his projected commitment date to the fall, said he's "most definitely" interested in visiting the newer schools showing interest. He also reiterated that he wants to visit each of the six schools on the list he released this spring: Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Iowa, Xavier and Marquette.
He's got official visits lined up next week with Michigan and Indiana. After those, Carton said he likely won't go on any visits until late August or September. Carton's dad told the Register his son will likely participate in Chris Paul's Rising Stars Camp in Greensboro, North Carolina, on August 10-12.
Of the new schools reaching out, Carton has had the most contact with Kansas — particularly with Self. Carton said Self has told him he likes his game and feels like it would fit in Lawrence.
"So, I’ll just keep going throughout the process and see where (the Kansas interest) goes," Carton said. "(Self) gave me a lot of wisdom on and off the court. He helped me become a better point guard, smarter point guard, better leader. And he did this all by being hard on me. He had high expectations for me and that’s what makes a player great — having high expectations and trying to live up to them."
Contrary to rumors that have been spreading online, Carton has maintained his recruitment is still wide open. He said his relationship with the Hawkeyes is strong, and that he's become quite close with Iowa recruit Patrick McCaffery this offseason.
"I talk to Pat almost on a daily basis, he’s become one of my really good friends," Carton said. "Throughout the USA Trials and NBA Top 100, I’ve been with him a lot. I’ve gotten to know him really well, and I’ve gotten to know his family. I’ve gotten to know Coach (Fran) McCaffery really well. I’ve known them for a long time, but just talking with them on a daily basis — it’s connecting me more with Iowa."
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.