Booker T. Washington (Norfolk, VA) power forward DeShawn Painter entered the 2007/2008 season with high expectations as one of the most highly rated prospects in the 2009 class. The season did not go as planned for Painter, who admittedly struggled against top competition and defenses focused on taking him out of the game. However, by the end of the season, the 6-8, 215-pound prospect regained his swagger and is excited heading into the AAU season.
“I struggled in the beginning, but in the end I pulled through,” Painter said of his junior season. “This year, teams game-planned to shut me down. Last year, we had another player who was the focal point so I was able to do my work. This year, we saw a lot of zone defense. Teams were coming at me hard, but we really learned how to play against the zone.”
Painter and the rest of his teammates eventually found their groove, especially towards the end of the season.
“I’d say things came together in the last 8 games,” Painter said. “I’d say I averaged about 21 points and 15 rebounds per game. I had a lot of double-doubles. Our team chemistry got better. Our chemistry wasn’t too good in the beginning. We came together and pulled through. Once we just focused on getting the W, we got better. I hit the boards harder. I just played hard and didn’t worry about rankings.”
Booker T. played a tough schedule in 2007/2008, giving Painter an opportunity to compete against the likes of [Benedictine senior forward] Ed Davis and [South Atlanta junior forward] Derrick Favors, two of the top prospects in the nation.
“They showed me that there are people out there that are a lot better than me,” Painter said of Davis and Favors. “I’m working to try to be the best. They showed me that I’m not there yet, but I still have time to improve. Right now, I think I need to get stronger. Derrick Favors was really strong. Watching Ed block shots, I saw how he blocked shots and learned from him. I’m still learning the game. I’ve only played for four years or so, so I try to learn from each player I go against.”
Painter, who is focusing on rehabbing...
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