In this era, high school players often prolong their journey to college, many of them opting for an extra year of prep school before matriculating. Rodney Purvis, a 6-foot-3, five-star guard out of Raleigh (N.C.) Upper Room Christian, is bucking the trend. He's anxiously anticipating his move to college and on Friday, took a step to get himself back on track.
Purvis reclassified prior to high school and put himself in the Class of 2013, where he's widely considered one of the elite players in the group. However, as he told ESPN.com on Friday, he's got a college itch that he needs to scratch and is moving back to his original 2012 grade.
"I feel like if my classes are in order, and next year my classes will be done and I have my credits, I don't see a point of staying around an extra year if I can be in college and working towards my dream," Purvis said. "I can't wait. It's all my family ever wanted for me and I have all their support. It's driving me to get better and I can't wait to get to college. Although, I'm not rushing anything."
There will be, however, a rush for his signature. Purvis touts a list of 12 schools and each was apprised of the grade situation. "I confirmed it with them to make sure they had enough scholarships in the 2012 class and all of them were fine with it," he said.
Duke, Texas, North Carolina, Xavier, Louisville, Kentucky, Baylor, Wake Forest, Memphis, North Carolina Central (his godfather is coach LeVelle Moton), Virginia and Virginia Tech comprise the list. He'll attend Duke's opening practice and was recently offered by coach Mike Krzyzewski. Thus far, Xavier's Chris Mack is the lone coach from his list to stop by this fall, but that's bound to change now his process accelerates by a year.
Purvis targets his senior season for a decision and said the change in classes won't affect his long-term goal of playing the point. He's singularly focused on improving. "It doesn't affect my development. I haven't stopped working," he said. "In fact, I work even harder now. I want to be one of the best in the Class of 2012."
Projecting Purvis in 2012 requires re-wiring from an evaluation standpoint. He's got a new peer group to compare himself with. It's a safe bet to plop him into the Top 20 in the new class (he was No. 4 in 2013) and Purvis is prepared to compete against his peers with the same focus he approached last summer when he was a standout at the NBA Top 100 Camp and King City Classic.
In a short period of time, Purvis distinguished himself as an athletic, strong, scoring threat. Excellent off the drive and finishing in the paint, he's difficult to guard. There's an attacking presence he brings to the table, making him one of the best young offensive players in his age group.
It's time to wrap your mind around the move and his ascent into the 2012 group. Realistically, this has been in the works since he reclassified a few years ago. His mother, Shanda McNair, was sure to leave open the possibility for this day if Purvis took care of business.
"I always told him if he did everything I asked of him we'd keep it open as an option. He's done that and we revisited," she said. "He has to work hard in his academics but he's got A's and B's now and he's working hard. I think he's fine to move right back into his class."
It didn't take Purvis long to carve out his identity in the Class of 2013 and his matriculation into 2012 comes with a new list of challenges on the court. However, he sounds like a junior with an elder statesman's approach to his game and his goals.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.