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College, High School / Jul 8, 2010 / 10:00 am

What’s going through LeBron’s mind today? These guys know

Josh Selby (photo. Aurelien Menuier)

“The Decision,” as LeBron James and ESPN are billing it, will be revealed during an hour-long presentation tonight beginning at 9 p.m. EST.

You could compare the LeBron event to a blown-up version of a high school recruit picking his college. Which makes sense: LeBron wasn’t too heavily recruited in high school, because back then every college coach knew he was going straight to the NBA. So for him, this is a fun part of the game he missed out on.

We decided to chat with some Class of 2010 high school stars, all of them now incoming college freshmen who — not too long ago — were in the same position LeBron is in now. This collection of All-Americans made their college decisions known either via the same network as LeBron, or at heavily-attended press conferences. They talked to us about what it feels like in the moments leading up to the big moment:

Having gone through the process of making a big decision like this, what was the night before the announcement like?

Kyrie Irving, St. Patrick’s H.S. (Elizabeth, N.J.), Duke: I was getting texts and calls from friends and family members who were all trying to put their input into my decision. In the end, I kept my circle small and talked to my dad and sister that night and made the best decision for me and my family.

Josh Selby, Lake Clifton H.S. (Baltimore), Kansas: Well, I was actually pretty nervous the night before due to the fact that I felt like I let (Tennessee assistant coach) Steve Forbes down. I had built a good relationship with him and I knew I’d have to call him and let him know I wasn’t coming there. Then I had the media calling me all night asking me where I was going. I gave them the same answer every time: “I don’t know!” But to paint the picture, it was fun and stressful.

Ryan Harrow, Walton H.S. (Marietta, Ga.), N.C. State: I was nervous because I wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision. People all over were asking me why I was going to N.C. State when I could’ve gone pretty much anywhere. But I was honestly excited.

Ray McCallum Jr., Detroit Country Day H.S. (Mich.), Detroit: It was actually pretty cool. I wasn’t feeling down or anything like that. I was excited. I couldn’t sleep. The one thing that wasn’t cool was all the people texting me asking me where I was going. Then I knew I’d have to call the coaches and tell them I wouldn’t be coming to their schools. I wasn’t looking forward to that, so that was the part that made the night before a little stressful.

Josh Smith, Kentwood H.S. (Covington, Wash.), UCLA: I wasn’t too nervous at all. The only thing was I knew I was gonna have to call (Washington head coach) Lorenzo Romar and tell him that I wasn’t gonna be coming to his school. Then I got like a million texts, most good and some bad, too.

How much, if at all, did you waver or go back and forth in those last few hours?

Irving: I knew it was Duke. I definitely contemplated other schools beforehand, but I broke down all the details and knew that I wanted to go to Duke.

Selby: Not at all. I knew where I was going.

Harrow: I didn’t waver.

McCallum: I actually made a final decision a few days before I actually had to announce it, so I never wavered.

Smith: I didn’t waver. I knew where I wanted to go. I think on the night before most people know where they’re going.

How do you KNOW you’re making the right decision?

Irving: You definitely know when you feel it in your heart and mind.

Selby: You just know. I don’t know what LeBron is feeling, I just wish him all the best.

Harrow: Just got to trust your judgment. You get a feeling. The night before, LeBron is probably just thinking about what’s best for him and where he’s gonna achieve his goals at.

McCallum: You have to trust yourself.

Smith: You just have to go over all the pros and cons and then trust that you’ve made the best decision.

Do you think LeBron already knows where he wants to go?

Irving: Yeah, probably.

Selby: I think that he probably has a clue.

Harrow: Yeah, I think he probably does. He obviously has doubts in Cleveland and thinks he can do better elsewhere.

McCallum: Yeah, just based on him making all of these plans and stuff. I mean ESPNU called me about announcing on the network, and I knew well before I was set to announce.

Smith: Definitely.

So where is LeBron headed?

Irving: I’m gonna say New York.

Selby: I’m gonna say either Chicago or Miami because he wants to win and that gives him the best chance to do so.

Harrow: New York. Great environment and he’s got Amar’e Stoudemire there now.

McCallum: Well, I remember LeBron said once before that he wanted to change his number from 23 out of respect for Michael Jordan. See that makes me think he may have known something beforehand and that means it’s Chicago. But my guess is Cleveland. I think he’s going to stay home.

Smith: The Knicks. He wants to win a championship and that’s one of the best places to do that.

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  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    Wow!!!!! JJ how can you compare someone who’s about to sign for 100+ million dollars to a college kid picking a school to play for free at. Recruiting for a college vs. where you play the next 6 years of your life…Wow!

  • cleveland123

    kobe > lebron

  • Celts Fan

    @jason – congrats man. This is the first original thing I’ve seen on this whole LeBron situation all summer. Can’t wait for next week so all of the build-up and reactionary crap is done and we can get back to talking about the rest of these guys. Titles are won with the “small” signings like a James Posey back in 08 or maybe Steve Blake this year. Whether the Heat win 50 games and bow out in the 2nd round this year (they’ll be fine and def win titles long-term, but it may take a year or 2 to build the bench back up through the draft and free agency) or 65 games and contend for a title right away will depend on who they get in the next 2 months. So sick of this narcicistic “Hey everyone, LOOK AT ME!” crap Bron’s doing…

  • MissyJ

    I won’t believe it until I see it.

    Which luckily, isn’t long now…

    http://www.msg.com/our-teams/knicks/press-conference-live-stream-1.45975

  • me

    I remember about a year ago i was thinking lebron would do this, the whole “college picking” type deal. I think it’s good that he’s doing this for 2 reasons:

    1.As a multi-millionnaire, you want to live out your dreams. He didn’t get to have colleges woo him, so he’s doing the next best thing. why not make it an experience you longed for?

    2.I like that his boys are selling the commercial time for this event. ppl say it’s narcissistic and all that, but would you rather help your boys get paid or some random, already rich company? good lookin out, bron.

    I really do hope he has the team’s hats in front of him, and plays around with them before putting one on.

    Even better would be if he brings out another free agent and announces a new running mate or two and they both sign right there.