For the first time since seeking a release from Duke two months ago, Arizona State signee Carrick Felix explained in detail why he decided not to join the national champion Blue Devils.
A potential lack of playing time had to be a concern as a result of Kyle Singler's surprise return, but the 6-foot-6 former College of Southern Idaho wing also reiterated in a conversation with the Arizona Republic that he never felt comfortable in Durham.
"I just kind of felt it was the wrong decision just because it wasn't what I truly wanted. It was just kind of what everybody else wanted. 'They won the national championship. It's Duke. You have to do it. You can't say no to Coach K.' And I was kind of like, 'I guess I can't.' But it just wasn't me."
"It was hard because I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to upset people or disappoint people. It was just kind of the decision where I was like, 'Well, do I want to sit here and kind of just go through the motions and act like I really love being here?' or am I just going to come out and say it and do what's best for my basketball career and me as a person? I said it, and at first it didn't go off too well. But they understood and they talked it out with me and tried to help me find a different school."
Felix's decision not to become Mike Krzyzewski's first junior-college player may end up working out well for both parties. It would have been difficult for Felix to crack Duke's crowded backcourt rotation, but the sophomore has a legitimate chance to make an impact off the bench in his first year at Arizona State.
Six-foot-7 forward Kyle Cain and Felix were late additions to a seven-man Sun Devils recruiting class that should provide depth and athleticism for the program. With sweet-shooting forward Rihards Kuksiks, high-scoring Ty Abbott and steady point guard Jamelle McMillan also returning, Felix likes his new team's chances of making a splash next season.
"We're on the rise, and I felt like by me coming here and all the players that are coming here now, I just feel like we're only getting better. I feel like this team right here can compete for the Final Four. I really do. If we play together and play hard, I really do feel we can win the conference and get to the tournament."
Felix might want to lower those Final Four expectations a bit, but it definitely sounds like he's found a school where he feels comfortable.