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“I like the East Coast. It’s more mellow, but at the same time, they’re very passionate about what they do and friendly. That’s the type of people I like to surround myself with. LA is all about who is the bigger guy, and that’s just not the type person that I am,” said Duruisseau, who announced on Oct. 20 that he will sign a national letter of intent with the University of Washington.
So he’s heading back to the Left Coast after his year out East. A three-star post player, Duruisseau originally committed to San Jose State after averaging 18.6 points and 10.8 rebounds her game as a senior at Sylmar High School.
Duruisseau re-opened his recruitment in the spring and drew interest from Colorado, Arizona State and Cal, among others.
He decided on Washington at the end of a two-year recruiting effort by Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar, whose sales pitch wasn’t basketball-heavy, to say the least.
“We didn’t talk about basketball one time,” said Duruisseau, who said after Romar visited LA to watch Duruisseau play and meeting him at his home then called Duruisseau’s mother to make a pitch to her.
Duruisseau then visited and fell in love with Washington.
“Seattle is a nice place. It’s a mellow place. USC, Cal, all those other schools are busier. I’m not that type of guy. Seattle is mellow, no distractions, and I can focus on what I need to do,” Duruisseau said.
“He’ll make a good transition,” Huckaby said. “He’ll do a good job. He’ll work hard. He’ll go through his adjustment period like most freshmen, but in the long-term you’re talking about a good four-year career.”
Duruisseau joins a heralded 2015 recruiting class at UW that is ranked in the Top 10 nationally by both ESPN and Rivals.
“We have a great class,” Duruisseau said. “We have two Top 100 guards coming in that can help score. We have a couple of other bigs coming in that are very athletic. I think I can come in and help contribute skill-wise. I know the other bigs are very athletic. They can block shots. I can come in and do some work in the post. I’m really looking forward to getting there.”
The postgrad year has already helped Duruisseau with one facet of the transition to the next level: getting used to playing with a new group of talented players and a demanding coach in Huckaby.
“I was a little nervous,” Duruisseau said. “I didn’t know what to expect, playing with new guys, coming from a four-year group of guys to a whole new team. And having Ed Huckaby as a coach is very different. I’ve never had that type of discipline, somebody that has that passion for the game.”
Two months into the postgrad year, and three games into the PG season, Duruisseau is already feeling wistful about when it will all wind down.
“What helps the most is we’re all living together. I have guys within 10 feet of me that I can go to, talk to about anything. When I first got here, I didn’t think it was going to be anything like that, but after a couple of weeks, we all adjusted. They’re all good guys. I’m going to miss all the guys, the relationships that I’m building,” Duruisseau said.
Huckaby said Duruisseau has some growing to do on the court as well.
“He needs to work on every facet of his game like all young players. But he’s got a high IQ and he works extremely hard. Very humble and quiet guy. Very intelligent, so that will take of itself,” Huckaby said.
Duruisseau is focused every day on getting a little better and little farther along toward that goal.
“My focus now is what the coaches think I need to work on. Rebounding, screening, finishing in the post, little stuff like that. The Pac-12 is another level, so you have to adjust,” Duruisseau said.
– Column by Chris Graham