CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- Javin DeLaurier took the floor for a shoot-around Monday afternoon at St. Anne's-Belfield with a smile on his face -- and a weight lifted off his shoulders.
"I can sit here and focus on trying to be the best I can be my senior year of basketball, and not worry about where I'm going to go to college," the senior told reporters before Monday's workout.
DeLaurier called picking a college "the hardest decision of my life." But it was a decision he made this past weekend, when he verbally committed to the reigning NCAA champion Duke men's basketball program.
DeLaurier broke the news to Duke coach Mike Kryzewski during dinner Saturday night, while on an official visit in Durham.
"He got up and hugged me," DeLaurier recalled Monday. "It was amazing. My mom started crying. It was emotional, but it's great."
"It really is crazy, especially considering where I was a year ago, two years ago," DeLaurier added. "It's amazing. It's a dream come true."
Listed as a 6-foot-9 power forward, DeLaurier is regarded as a consensus four-star prospect by the major basketball recruiting websites, and one of the top 50 players in the recruiting class of 2016.
He spent much of his time at STAB flying under the recruiting radar, however, according to Rivals.com recruiting analyst Brad Franklin -- until turning some heads at the 2014 NBPA Top 100 camp at John Paul Jones Arena, followed by another strong performance during AAU season this past spring.
"Physically, he sort of came into his own and got more comfortable," Franklin said, "and that’s a big part of why he started to generate so much interest and probably why his recruitment got as big as it did."
The past few months turned into a recruiting whirlwind for DeLaurier, starting with an offer from Shaka Smart in April, shortly after the former VCU coach took over at Texas. Since that point, offers came from programs like Arizona and North Carolina, and DeLaurier made recent visits to Louisville and Notre Dame.
DeLaurier's offer from the Blue Devils came two weeks ago.
"It's a blessing. I've been exposed to a lot of different things over the summer, been a lot of great places," DeLaurier said. "Throughout the summer, I was definitely happy with how far I'd come, especially in the past year, and excited for where I can go."
"The biggest thing you hear about him is about his motor," Franklin said. "He’s just a guy who is not going to be denied around the basket and that’s what he really proved this summer... He really made himself into an elite prospect because of his work ethic and his overall motor and want-to.”
On Monday, DeLaurier was asked about the most surreal moment he experienced during his recruiting process.
"The moment I realized I wanted to go to Duke, honestly," he replied. "It was just an amazing feeling when I looked around and said, 'I'm going to be here in a year. This is where I'll be playing basketball and going to school.'"