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Trevor Keels talks why he chose Duke; how close it really was

Devils Illustrated recently caught up with Duke’s newest signee, Trevor Keels from Fairfax, Virginia. The 6-foot-5 wing spoke in-depth about his recruitment, how close it really was and why he chose to play in Durham.

He also talked about how he is still working two more potential recruits to join him in the fall of 2021.

Devils Illustrated: You and the members of your class didn't get to have any sense of normalcy when it came to your recruitment. With the COVID-19 lockdowns and AAU basketball cancelled, you weren't able to experience what a normal high major recruitment was supposed to feel like. What was that like for you? And were there a lot of frustrations with it?

Keels: "Definitely. It was definitely frustrating. I couldn't go to the campus like I would have wanted. I couldn't have the face-to-face conversations that I wanted. You really can't get a feel for what the campus is normally like with the students there. Everything was virtual and everything was done on Zoom, which kind of became the normal for (my class). I just really had to adapt and it wasn't normal. That's pretty much why I had those final four schools. I had visited three of them, and Kentucky came in late, and I added them. But I had been to Virginia, Villanova and Duke before all of it. And those were my final schools in the end."

DI: We've been aware that you grew up a Duke fan from when you were younger. I know this was a business decision, but did your fandom of Duke play any part in this? Did it help Duke that you grew up a fan?

Keels: "Most definitely. It played into it a good amount. I mean Duke was always my dream school. But you still have to look at the rosters, to see who is leaving, who is coming back and who you'll play with. I always told my parents that Duke was my dream school. I remember Coach K coming to our school to recruit Jeremy (Roach) back when I was a freshman or sophomore. I remember talking to Coach K and being nervous and stuttering. But yes, you want to know how you're going to fit in and how they'll use me."


DI: You were a guy all along that didn't really like to do many interviews. You kept your space from reporters and media. Talk to me about that a little bit. What went into that and what were your reasons for keeping things so close to the vest. Your father, Roland, and coach, Glenn Farello, both respected that about you and really didn't share much either. You had them well trained too, right?

Keels: "Yes, I've always wanted to keep that in the family. We kept a tight circle and it was to make sure that the reporters and media out there didn't flip my words or make too big of a deal over any specific words that I use about a coach or a program. We wanted to keep it all in the family and just let things out when we were ready. There are some reporters who are great and some that aren't so great. I just didn't want anyone to use my words for something that I didn't intend."

DI: Definitely, and I certainly understand. You kept a tight lid on things. So how close was your recruitment now that it's over? Was it really close between Villanova and Duke?

Keels: "It was close with all four. I really think all four of those coaches are Hall of Famers. Every single one of them is great. It came down to the wire with all four and when all four of those coaches are telling you that you're a great player and they want you in their program, it's tough to turn that down. But at the end of the day, you can only go to one program. And my trust with Coach K was the biggest thing. Jay Wright was a phenomenal recruiter. It was tough."

DI: How important was your former Paul VI teammate, Jeremy Roach, in your decision? I know you guys are very close.

Keels: "Man, we are so close. We played together at PVI for all of those years. We have a great chemistry and I trust him. The thing is that he would tell me the good things about Duke and the bad things. I didn't just want to know the good things, I wanted to know everything. And he and I have a good close trust, so he told me everything. But in the end, I just can't wait to play in the same back court with him again. He's a dog and a natural leader. I know the fans can't wait for us to team up again."

DI: Who else are you and the rest of the recruits (Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin) working on to finish the class?

Keels: "I just spoke with Jaylen Blakes the other day. I've been talking to him and of course I am still working on Patrick Baldwin Jr. too. Paolo hit me up every single day and was recruiting me. That's the thing about being recruited at Duke, you're going to help recruit the other guys."

DI: I haven't seen much of Jaylen Blakes, but you have, so tell us about him.

Keels: "Yes, I have. I played with him out at USA and he's a two-way guy that is going to defend. He's tough and he just wants to win. We want guys like that, that don't care about how many shots you get up. They just want to do whatever it takes to win. Jaylen is one of those guys."

DI: How do you envision Duke using you? How do you want to be used?

Keels: "The thing about me is that I can play anywhere. I want to play wherever I'm needed. Whether that's the two-guard or just playing wherever. I just want to win, and so does Paolo and AJ. We want to come in and win a national championship. That's the goal."