Iowa 2019 target D.J. Carton talks relationship with Iowa, Indiana visit and his maturation process throughout his recruitment. Matthew Bain/The Register
BETTENDORF, Ia. — The Register hung out at Bettendorf High on Wednesday for a story on how much Midwest mega-recruit D.J. Carton's life has changed this year.
In short? A whole heck of a lot.
Here's your clue: Minnesota was also in town that day to meet with Carton, and Illinois was slated to come on Thursday. Those are just two of the 13 programs that have offered Carton, a prime Iowa 2019 target.
We spoke at length with Carton about the schools that have stood out so far in his recruitment. He said he's visiting Missouri this weekend, and he wants to visit Michigan (which would likely offer) and Ohio State (which has offered) soon. He has maintained he won't make any recruiting decision until next academic year.
But for now, here's what he had to say:
"They talk to me almost every day or every other day. They text me. I really like Iowa, and I feel like we’ve built a strong relationship. I know that they’re needing some point guard help and so they’ve really been attacking me and trying to really come after me. I’ve also been talking to Joe (Wieskamp) and Patrick (McCaffery) and they’re always putting their couple words in, trying to get me to come, so I hear from them every now and then. I went down to the Ohio State game on a visit, and that was a good time, took a couple of my teammates down there. It was fun to just be in that atmosphere again and be back in Iowa City."
"My cousin plays at Augustana, so I went down to the Illinois-Augustana game and got to go on a visit there, too. It was good to knock both those out and see him play. Illinois gave Augustana a beating, so that wasn't too fun. We got over that one. But yeah, it was fun. I got to talk with the head coach (Brad Underwood), so it was good to meet him. He’s a really down-to-earth guy. They showed me around the campus and they’ve been talking to me a lot lately and told me they’re going to start recruiting me hard. I’m looking to hear a lot from them in the next couple weeks."
"I talk to (assistant) coach (Ed) Conroy pretty often; I haven't talked to him lately, just because I’ve been busy with basketball going on this season. I went up to Minnesota in the fall sometime, went up there and that was a really fun visit. We went to a football game. There, I got to hang out with the players a lot. I kind of just got to see how the team carries itself and how they bond with the coaches and stuff. That was really fun. Minnesota, they take basketball seriously. There’s a whole tradition. I got to see the old arena, so it was just something new and special you don’t see every day."
"I haven’t talked to (assistant) coach (Chris) Hollender in three or four days, but I have actually talked to him a lot and (head) coach (Cuonzo) Martin. They’re definitely showing their interest in me. Last time I went on a visit down there, it was a really good visit. I had fun. Didn’t really get to see a basketball game or anything, or a football game, but I just went down there and checked out the campus. I talked to the weight-training guy, who I sat down with for quite a bit of time, because he knew a lot and had been working with the NBA. So we had a lot of questions for him, and that was fun. Just something you don't really see every day. So talking with him, talking with coach Martin and all those coaches I don't usually get to talk to."
"They’ve been talking to me a lot lately. (Head) coach (Steve) Wojciechowski stresses how much they need a point guard, so he really likes my game. Knowing him from being a smart point guard at Duke, just knowing him and having him be a mentor of my game. He’s taught me some stuff about the game and he hasn’t even been my coach. So just the environment over at Marquette, it’s a basketball school. It’s just awesome. I’ve been there two or three times. Me and them have a really good relationship, and they already picked up Joey Hauser, so they’re building something in the future there. Definitely going to get back over there and see how they’re doing."
"They came to my Clinton game and I got to talk to them, talked to (assistant) coach (Joe) Krabbenhoft, and they’re doing well. Their season’s not going as planned ... and neither is ours, so we’ve got a lot to work on. But they’re still showing a lot of interest in me as a point guard for their team in the future, so I’m looking to go on a visit up there some time after this season, get back up to Madison."
(The Hoosiers have not made an offer yet, but Carton visited Indiana last weekend.)
"I always knew it was a basketball state and that the university was known for basketball, but just being in that environment and knowing that, their team isn't the greatest this year — they’re in a rebuilding process and I know that — but just the environment and the atmosphere of the fans. Although their team isn’t doing the best right now, it was just crazy because I couldn't even imagine what it would be like if they have that top-25 team in the country or something like that. So it was just awesome to be down there, get to know the new coaching staff and some of the players."
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.