LAPORTE, Ind. — A year ago Derik Queen was toiling behind the scenes as a sophomore, not seeing the floor much for the prestigious Montverde Academy basketball program after transferring in from Baltimore, Md.
Although he is a 5-star prospect, that first year wasn’t altogether surprising at the national powerhouse, where it can be difficult to break into the typically upperclassman laden starting five.
There’s an understanding dues sometimes must be paid first at Montverde. That was the path current IU freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau took at the school before becoming stars as seniors when they led the school to a national title.
Now it’s Queen’s turn as a junior. He posted a 34-point, 11 rebound effort on Thursday evening against fellow national power Sunrise Christian, and he followed that up with 24 points and 10 boards on Friday against Wasatch Academy in front of the IU coaching staff.
Queen is leaner and a better athlete than he was a year ago, and his skillset on the low block has improved. There’s a lot that went into his year-over-year development, but one variable was dealing with Reneau on a day-to-day basis last season.
“One thing I learned from Malik, he used to kill me last year and I basically just picked that up,” Queen told The Daily Hoosier.
Queen says he’s improved his diet and work habits to improve his body, and he credits the coaching staff at Montverde.
“That’s just coach (Kevin) Boyle, and coach Rae (Miller) and coach KBJ (Kevin Boyle, Jr.) putting their trust in me. Before I came my defense wasn’t that great and my body wasn’t there, but they’ve got it right.”
Queen is one of Indiana’s top forward prospects in the junior class. He took an official visit to IU in September along with his Montverde teammate Liam McNeeley.
“The coaches, they welcomed me as a family, we talked, we made jokes,” Queen said when asked what stood out about his time in Bloomington. “My old teammates (Reneau and Hood-Schifino) were telling me how good it is, and they like the coaches.”
While he has a good relationship with the two IU freshmen, Queen said he’s giving them some space during the season.
“I don’t talk to them that often because I don’t want to distract them from their college games, but we talk like once every two weeks or so,” Queen said.
He is getting positive vibes from Reneau, however, a fellow big man whose path he could follow for a second time.
“He says he likes it,” Queen said is Reneau’s message to him. “He said the coaches are gonna let me rock.”
Currently in the class of 2024, the 6-foot-8 Queen has been mentioned as a possible reclassification candidate. But he told The Daily Hoosier on Thursday he’s staying in his current class.
Indiana, Maryland and Auburn have been the main three schools involved with his recruitment to this point. Queen also also taken a visit to his hometown school Maryland, and said he intends to get to Auburn. He said Arizona was involved but not as much anymore. IU assistant coach Kenya Hunter is leading the effort for the Hoosiers, and Queen said he also talks to Mike Woodson and other staff members on a fairly regular basis.
Currently No. 19 nationally in the 247Sports Composite for the class of 2024, Queen said he doesn’t have any kind of timeline in mind right now for making a college decision, and he isn’t focused that much on his recruitment during his season.
SEE ALSO — Queen’s teammate Liam McNeeley updates his recruitment with The Daily Hoosier:
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