David Shumate Sits Down with Darius Joiner – Duke University
DS: Well, since you opened the door, tell me about your nickname that grew up. I know it was Duke – where did that come from?
DJ: I think my uncle gave it to me since I was a huge fan, but to be honest I have a lot of nicknames. They call me “Krown” with the letter “K” because I am from the Kappa family. I had many nicknames. But this, Duke, was really just a household nickname for me growing up.
DS: You mentioned how much you loved Duke Basketball. What are some of your favorite teams and favorite players?
DJ: JJ Redick and Kyrie Irving then when Zion Williamson grew up. Nolan Smith is clearly out there – these guys have kept me in love with the game.
DS: I’m sure you’ll have a chance to walk through Cameron. As someone who grew up as a fan, what was that experience like – have you been to a game before?
DJ: I’ve never been to a game before, and can’t wait to get one this year. It will be amazing when I go to my first match.
DS: 35 and 10, I think, is what you said you would be able to get for John Sheer. These are very specific numbers (for points and rebounds). How did you settle on these?
DJ: He’s kind of average to me, but I know I’m going to have to bench because they have a great point guard in Jeremy Roach. I’ve already seen him in the hallway. I don’t want to step on his toes because I know he’s heading into the NBA and I’m looking forward to the NFL. So I’m good at letting it shine – I just want to be the back story, a little something.
DS: Well, back to football now. You lead the team in Intervention, and you said you came here knowing you can show what you can do on a Power 5 level. It’s one thing to know that you can do it and another thing to see it happen. How rewarding for you to see that pay off?
DJ: Right now, I’m not focusing on that. We are in the middle of the season and I feel like I have a lot of room to improve and for me personally, the team as a whole we have many areas where we can improve, we can grow. That’s all we’re locked into right now. We just try to elevate and elevate each practice every day and not look to the future but look to the “now” and if we look forward to the “now” and focus on getting better every day I feel like the sky is our limit.
DS: You mentioned this growth. What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen in the team when you look at camp and the work you’ve done over the summer so far, and what do you still have to do as you look to extend your playing period in the league?
DJ: For now, the important thing for us is communication, just making sure we’re all on the same page. I feel like there is no game we are going to play where we have outdone talent from a talent perspective. As long as we connect and keep everyone on the same page, I feel like we can play with anyone.
DS: You had the opportunity to intercept the ball earlier this year in the game against Virginia. You probably don’t have to fight your teammates much to get one, but it sounds like you’re not going to let Brandon Johnson have that…
DJ: Yes, we acquired Brandon almost simultaneously but he is a great player and will be here for many more years then in the NFL. But I’m leaving this year, so I need my objections now, so I couldn’t let him have that.
DS: When you look at high school, one of the highlights was the fact that there will be many new faces out there this year. You and [Datrone] Speedy Young comes through the transfer portal and mingles with some guys too, but that transition seems to have gone really smoothly. How did you guys manage to gel so fast?
DJ: Well, Speedy is my roommate and Jaylene Stinson is from Alabama, so we were 30 minutes away, so it was a bit easy for us. We only talk a lot, hang out a lot, joke around all the time, and this constant communication makes it easy for us to be hard on each other when we practically need to. This openness was the most important thing in making this work fast.
DS: One of the things the coaches talked about entering the season was spreading the culture into the show where they wanted to. I was part of that when it came to bringing that winning mentality here. Are you at all surprised at how quickly you took root?
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