WILLISTON, N.D. -- One of the fastest rising players in the 2018 class is Louisville native Desean Eikens who is dominating the basketball scene in of all places North Dakota. Desean burst on the scene with a dominating performance at the Pangos All-Midwest Camp in October and since then he has become a hot commodity for Division 1 programs across the country. Standing at 6’6 with a strong build Eikens was able to score at the rim at will and also showcased an improved face up game at the prestigious Pangos camp. Desean was willing to sit down and talk with Next Up Recruits about his goals, recruitment, and life in Williston, North Dakota.
NUR: First off, how did you end up in North Dakota and what was the transition like coming from Louisville?
Desean: I grew up in Louisville Kentucky playing for the Louisville Legends and I wanted to be with my dad who was living in North Dakota. Coach Dion and Coach Boo from the Legends had already given me the foundation to my basketball career and I just wanted to take everything to the next level. I knew that moving out here with my dad would help me grow as a player andas a person, and it really has. We work out twice a day together.
NUR: Tell me about your experience playing varsity basketball as freshman last season? Also what are your goals for the upcoming season?
Desean: Last season I was fortunate enough to break the freshman scoring record by a large margin but I wasn’t happy about it because we weren’t winning. Last year my numbers were 24 points and 9 rebounds a game, this year I would like to average 30 and 12 but winning a state championship is truly what’s important to me.
NUR: Coming from a basketball crazy area like Kentucky, what has been the biggest adjustment to moving somewhere that is not known as a hoops hotbed?
Desean: It’s a lot of different, obviously there is not as much talent as in Kentucky. Phil Jackson is from here and there may not have a been a highly ranked D1 caliber player from North Dakota since him.
NUR: You blew up after attending Pangos camp in Chicago, what was that process like and did you anticipate the attention you got after attending that camp?
Desean: Last year I went to Pangos and played great the first day but then I bruised my tailbone and was out. I knew what kind of hype you get if you playing well at that camp after seeing guys like Jeremiah Tillman and Xavier Tillman last year. My dad is my primary trainer here and since last year we have been focusing on Pangos because we knew camp director Dinos Trigonis could really help us.
NUR: Do you have goals as to what level or conference of college basketball you want to play in?
Desean: No specific goals just want to hopefully go to the program that fit’s me and a system that wants to run and gun
NUR: You are currently 6’6 and potentially not done growing. What position do you see yourself playing at the next level?
Desean: Ideally I would like to play the 2 or the 3 in college but it seems like I am one of the taller guys at all these camps so they immediately tick me at the 4. I don’t mind though because I can rebound and get out in transition and still show what I can do but at the next level I will be a wing especially if I improve my point guard skills and get a quicker trigger on my shot.
NUR: For someone that’s never seen you play, what do you consider the strengths of your game?
Desean: My strengths are my shooting, ball handling and vertical. I honestly have to give credit to coach Dion Lee of the Louisville Legends because when I was 6ft in the third grade he still made me dribble and worked on all my perimeter skills.
NUR: Recruiting wise, any firm scholarship offers as of yet? Also what schools are currently showing the most interest?
Desean: Yes, the University of North Dakota has offered me. California has been aggressive and I really like what they’re doing down there with Jaylen Brown and the number one recruiting class in the country, I really like them. Minnesota and Nebraska have been in contact a lot and Iowa State most recently.
NUR: Being just a sophomore and not having played on a shoe sponsored AAU team what are most of these college programs telling you?
Desean: Some of the schools within driving distance have told me they are coming to watch my high school games but most are telling me they can’t wait to see me play in the Spring.
NUR: Is there a player in the college or NBA that you model your game after?
Desean: As I said earlier I really want to play in a run and gun system, so someone that I realistically could see my game developing into is Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors. He is only about an inch taller than me and our game has some similarities. He is someone that can handle the ball, shoot the ball, rebound and even go dunk on a Dwight Howard. He can do it all so him or even Andre Igudola is someone I could see myself having similarities with.
NUR: Last question. What drives you to make it as far as you can make the most of this opportunity you have in basketball?
Desean: One of the reasons I didn’t play for a shoe sponsored program last year was people kept telling me I couldn’t make it out of South Dakota and had people in my ear telling me I should move here and there. I don’t believe that there is only one way to make it or that you have to live in a certain place, especially when there is a kid ranked in the top 25 out of Alaska right now. I averaged 25 a game last season and everyone told me I wasn’t playing any competition. Then I go to Pangos and play well and the same people want to call and congratulate me. The people that doubt me are the reason I worked out three times a day this summer and that is my drive to prove those people wrong