Penn State men's basketball head coach Ed DeChellis landed one of the most highly-touted high school recruits the program has ever seen today when State College Area guard Taran Buie faxed in his letter of intent on the first day of the early signing period.
This afternoon, BWI caught up with Buie to talk about the commitment.
So, you finally were able to sign your letter of intent today. How'd you go about doing it?
Buie: I just signed the papers and sent them over to the coaching staff. I did a press conference when I first gave a verbal commitment back in New York so I just wanted to sign the papers and send them over.
Did you get a chance to talk to the coaches?
Buie: Yeah, I talked to all of the coaches, actually. They all congratulated me and said it was great to have me aboard. I felt the love, the same love that I've been feeling since day one. So, it was a good situation. Committed, I feel a little bit relieved now. It feels like you just commit all over again. Now it's in the books. You got that to look forward to.
Had you had any second thoughts or keep recruiting open at all in the meanwhile?
Buie: No. A bunch of people told me that Penn State wasn't the right school for me. I just told them, how would you know? You know what I mean? I never second guessed my thought one time. I knew it was going to be Penn State from day one and as soon as I made my commitment, I knew it was solid. I didn't want to be one of those kids that committed and de-committed a bunch of times. I wanted to be sure the first time I committed and I was sure, pulled the trigger on Penn State and I signed my papers.
With Talor and your family here in State College now, what does it mean to have that all come together and be at a program that seems to be on the rise as opposed to a few years ago when it might not be at the level your talent would warrant?
Buie: Yeah, it's definitely cool and being on campus every day pretty much, being around the guys and they're bringing back the whole team so I'll be the only new guy that will be there and nobody will leave. So, I'm just hanging out with my teammates and knowing my family is here, everything fell into place. Everything is perfect.
Talor said he didn't push you too much in one direction or another but how much of an influence was that ultimately for you?
Buie: Yeah, he never forced his hand on my decision or anything like that. It was just more of a lead by example type of thing. We played together, I like playing with him, and he would never just tell me to come to Penn State off of that. We always just talked about how much we like playing with each other and we always played pickup or whatever have you. We always seemed to play good and I use it as an example because every freshman struggles when they come into college and it's always good to have a mentor and what's better than having your big brother who cares about you as a basketball player and as a person?
With that in mind, he's said that he would stick around for his fourth year. Do you consider it a sure thing that he'll stay for his senior year?
Buie: No, I told him like this, I said, Man, if you do your numbers this year and they're calling your name, you gotta go. Don't worry about me, I'll be all right. Don't worry about me. You do your thing and we'll meet up on that road ahead.
You've had a summer to get better, so which one of you is winning the pickup games now?
Buie: See, we never play one on one. We never do too much stuff against each other, ever. We always play on the same team in pickup. When I play pickup with the guys, he always gets the W, every time.
How was the AAU stuff over the summer? You were at the LeBron camp with the dunk, right?
Buie: Yeah, I was at the LeBron camp, I was at the Deron Williams point guard camp. It was all good. My body wasn't in the best condition this summer. I was going through injuries the whole time and stuff. I took kind of a back seat role. I still did my scoring and all that but I was just trying to work on my other stuff. I used this summer to transform myself into more of a point guard.
Are you not considering yourself a pure two anymore?
Buie: Nah, I'm not. I mean, I think that Deron Williams camp helped me out a lot working with Deron Williams and the other top 20 point guards in the country. They give you a lot of stuff on what to do as a point guard and just becoming a leader of the team in the sense of running the team and getting everybody where they need to be.
So is that what you're envisioning for yourself down the road? Are you committed to becoming a point guard full time?
Buie: Yeah, I'm pretty committed to becoming a point guard full time. I want to step in and... I still play the two a little bit, obviously my freshman year my brother will be playing the one a lot.
How's State College so far?
Buie: State College is good. The basketball here takes a long time to get started. We've been doing a lot of open gyms and conditioning stuff like that so everything is good. The weight program and stuff, everything is good. It's just hanging in there and waiting for the season to start.
When does it get started up for you?
Buie: The first day of tryouts is Nov. 20. We start the second in New York and didn't even have a tryout. It was just like the first day of practice.