Despite only being a sophomore, AJ Swinton is already becoming a problem for opponents on both sides of the floor. Pro Insight witnessed it first-hand recently in Phoenix at Hoophall West and it’s safe to say many college programs have taken notice, as well.
Standing 6’6” with a massive wingspan, Swinton functions as a big guard who’s able to make plays all over the court. He has the ability to step behind the arc and stretch the floor, he’s effective in transition, and he uses his athletic frame to score over length in the post. Swinton’s length on defense translates into an above-average amount of deflections, blocks, and steals.
Swinton already holds high-major offers, but we expect to see his list grow as time goes on. This week, Swinton spent some time chatting with Pro Insight’s Jake Lieberman about his recruitment.
For the next installment of “Recruiting Roundup,” we present class of 2024 prospect AJ Swinton, from Hyattsville, Maryland:
Pro Insight: What are you looking to accomplish this high school basketball season? What are your goals?
AJ Swinton: I really want to focus on being a facilitator this season. I’ve stepped into a new role, I’m not just looking to score every time I get the ball. We have a very competitive schedule and there will be times where I will have to impact the game without the ball in my hands. I just want to continue making the right plays for my team and doing stuff that doesn’t always show up in stats like diving for loose balls, getting in the passing lanes and setting good screens. My biggest goal is to become a consistent shooter. I’m starting to shoot more efficiently from 3 but I don’t want to settle for just perimeter shots. My goal is to be able to get to my shot from any place on the floor.
PI: Which programs are currently prioritizing you the most or expressing the most interest?
AS: I have offers from Virginia Tech, Georgetown, George Mason, and Howard and they all are heavily recruiting me. Coaches from each school stay in contact with my coaches at DeMatha and were in the gym a lot prior to the season. I’m also receiving high interest from Xavier, Butler, UVA, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State.
PI: Where have you visited thus far? Do you have any future visits planned?
AS: I’ve visited Virginia Tech, Maryland, Villanova, Maryland, George Mason, and Howard. I plan on taking unofficials to Georgetown and Xavier, soon.
PI: Did you have any dream schools growing up?
AS: I didn’t really have a dream school growing up but I did watch a lot of the blue blood schools like Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and UCLA. I’ve always liked watching teams with a lot of talent because it shows that it is possible to have talented players buy into a program and that’s what I’m looking for.
PI: If you could team up with any high school player in the country when you guys get to college, who would you pick?
AS: Elliot Cadeau. He impacts all aspects of the game, plays with high energy, good pace, and is a great decision maker. He’s skilled in running the offense and in finding open guys. With my athleticism and quickness and his instinct it would be something special at the next level.
PI: How do you project your role at the next level?
AS: I see myself continuing to be a strong two-way player. I know that I can score at all three levels and I know that in order to stay on the court you have to defend. I’ve always taken pride in defending, that's what really motivates my game, working on both sides of the court. Ultimately, I know that my ability to defend all positions will make me a major contributor at the next level.
PI: What are your three main priorities when it comes to your recruitment?
AS: I mentioned before that I want to play with other high level players, that’s why I chose DeMatha. That’s what I’m looking for at the next level: a coach/program that has shown that they can get strong players to be on the same page and play unselfishly. The school I choose has to prioritize defense. Lastly, it would have to be a good conference — I definitely believe in the saying “in order to be the best you have to go against the best,” and being able to compete at a high level will make my game even stronger.
PI: How’s your timeline looking?
AS: It's still really early in the process, I expect my recruitment to increase after the season. It would be good to have a top-10 going into my junior year, but I’m not trying to rush anything. I really want to enjoy stepping into a leadership role and playing again on the EYBL circuit this summer.
PI: What's your pre-game pump-up song/artist?
AS: It’s definitely a combination of No Savage, Lil Durk, and YoungBoy.
PI: Which player in the NBA or college would you compare your game to?
AS: It would have to be Mikal Bridges. We have a similar size and I’m able to use my wingspan in ways that he does. I have the same versatility to play all positions offensively, handle the ball, set screens and attack the paint to create for myself and my teammates. We both defend on every level and are strong on-ball defenders.