Around the seventh school is when D.J. Harvey’s memory gets blurry. His voice trailing off, the DeMatha sophomore eventually comes up empty as he attempts to scan through his lengthy list of college basketball offers.
The number currently hovers around 15 for Harvey, a consensus five-star recruit in the 2017 class, but that’s likely to increase as the offseason wears on. Blessed with a college-ready, 6-foot-6, 190-pound physique and showcasing an array of skills on both ends of the floor, Harvey has continued to gain traction as a player and recruit following his first two seasons at DeMatha.
As the first freshman to start at DeMatha since NBA Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley in the 1969-70 season, a lofty bar was set for Harvey from the outset, one that he figuratively reached as a high-flying athlete with a knack for dunks. But the campaign left Harvey wanting more this past winter for his sophomore season.
“Freshman year, I was only really known for dunking, so I wanted to change that,” Harvey said. “I wanted to make people respect my jumper so I worked on my jumper, ball handling and getting stronger.”
The third-team All-Met swingman averaged 13.1 points, nearly double his output as a freshman, to help lead the Stags to the WCAC title game, the Maryland Private Schools and Alhambra Catholic Invitational titles and The Post’s No. 1 ranking. Just above him in the scoring category was junior Markelle Fultz, the WCAC player of the year and one of the nation’s hottest recruits.
The play of both Harvey and Fultz has led some to tab them as DeMatha’s most reputable duo since Joe Forte and Keith Bogans, a tandem that was named to the 1999 McDonald’s All-American team.
Back then, Harvey and Fultz were still wearing diapers, but the comparison isn’t lost on either player, especially after they met Bogans in December while in Orlando for the Victor Oladipo Christmas Hoops Festival.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as something close to those two great of players,” Harvey said. “Playing with Markelle has definitely given me something to strive for. He’s a great player, a great worker and I love playing with him. I kind of think our games complement each other. I’m surprised how good our chemistry was our first year playing together, but I guess good players can adjust to one another’s style of play and I think that’s what we did.”
That chemistry was especially on display in DeMatha’s WCAC semifinal win against St. John’s, when the two combined for 30 of the Stags’ 57 points in victory. Afterward, Harvey admitted that the two had previously discussed the idea of going to the same college as “a package deal,” although Harvey is one year behind Fultz.
“If it happens, it happens,” Harvey said when asked again this week. “If we decided to go to the same college and think it fits, I wouldn’t be mad at that.”
In the meantime, Harvey will spend his time playing at DeMatha’s open gym sessions with Fultz and on the AAU circuit with Team Takeover, which features another local high-profile recruit in Paul VI junior V.J. King.
Harvey said he also plans to take unofficial visits to Villanova (while in the area he will play in the Mary Kline Classic on May 30 in New Jersey alongside Fultz and Gonzaga’s Chris Lykes on a team coached by DeMatha’s Mike Jones) and Arizona.
“I don’t have any favorites right now; just enjoying the process and I’m honored to receive all this recognition at such a young age,” Harvey said. “Me and the people around me make sure it doesn’t get to my head by staying in the gym, working on my craft.”