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Ballers dish on goals for AAU

This time last year Rodney Purvis, a senior shooting guard at Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), was intent on using the AAU season to improve his all-around game.

“I wanted to get better in every aspect of my game,” said Purvis, an N.C. State signee. “That was what I was focused on.”

A year later, Purvis has won a state title, was named North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball, made the McDonald’s All-American Game and won MVP of the Jordan Brand All-American Game.

He even won the ESPNHS Fans’ Choice Player of the Year award.

“Hard work pays off,” Purvis said. “Younger guys have to go into AAU with goals. That’s the key.”

We caught up with a handful of underclassmen and had them dish on their goals for the AAU season.

Julius Randle

High School: Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), 2013, PF

AAU Team: Team Texas Titans

Undecided

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Gain a better understanding of the game and to learn to read defenses better. Right now I’m still learning when and how to attack the defense. They end up loading up on me. So I want to increase my basketball IQ.”

Tyus Jones

High School: Apple Valley (Apple Valley, Minn.), 2014, PG

AAU Team: Howard Pulley Panthers

Undecided

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Become a more vocal leader and a better rebounder and a better defender.”

Isaiah Lewis

High School: Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 2013, SG

AAU Team: NY Metro Hawks

Undecided

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Be a top 50 player. I’ve been improving my game since my freshman year and I’m gonna show everyone this summer.”

Jahlil Okafor

High School: Whitney Young (Chicago), 2014, C

AAU Team: Mac Irvin Fire

Undecided

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Be a better defender. I want to be able to be able to defend out of my area and become more of a shot blocker. I have most of the offense down, but I’m really concentrating on my defense to be more of a threat.”

Wayne Selden

High School: Tilton (N.H.), 2014, SG

AAU Team: BABC

Undecided

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Improve my overall game and polish all of my skills. Coming off of an injury that had me out for almost three months I feel like I have a lot to gain this AAU season. I want to take my offensive and defensive game to another level.”

Brannen Greene

High School: Mary Persons (Monroe, Ga.), 2013, SG

AAU Team: Florida Rams

Committed to: Kansas

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Gain more exposure and play against the best competition. I want to become the best player that I can be. I already know where I’m going to school so I’m just working hard to get better and play in the Elite 24, McDonald’s and Jordan Brand.”

Austin Nichols

High School: Briarcrest (Eads, Tenn.), 2013, PF

AAU Team: M33M

Undecided

My goal for the AAU season is to …

“Have fun knowing that this is my last year. I also want to play to the best of my ability.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN