Gabe DeVoe wasn't exactly a household name when he committed to play for Clemson coach Brad Brownell last August.
Now the Shelby, N.C. standout is starting to change his image as an under-the-radar prospect.
So far this season, there's been nothing quiet about DeVoe's performance.
The 6-3, 195-pound combo guard leads the state of North Carolina in scoring with his 36.2 average, and is also chipping in 12.6 rebounds, 3.0 steals, 3.0 blocks and 2.4 assists per game.
He opened his season with a 45-point performance in Shelby's 89-50 victory over Ashbrook, and then scored 39 in his team's 94-54 win over rival Chase.
DeVoe, whose cousins include former NBA head coach and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry and former N.C. State star David Thompson, is ranked as one of the top dozen point guards nationally, and a top-100 player overall, by recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons.
“Gabe DeVoe is just the ultimate competitor,” Gibbons told the Charlotte Observer recently. "He’s tall for a point guard, but he's a true floor leader. He’s not your typical point guard because he can put points up. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t find open teammates and run the show. He will be an outstanding player in the ACC and an excellent floor leader.”
DeVoe was one of two players who signed with Clemson in November, along with 6-7 wing Donte Grantham of Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Brownell said the two players represent another step forward in his program-building effort.
"They probably bring a little more basketball skill and basketball IQ and feel, and they've had good coaching," said Brownell. "Both are terrific young men, skilled and very smart. Both are college-ready, with physical bodies already.
"I think they fit the way I want to play as well as any two guys we've signed."
Shelby coach Aubrey Hollifield said there are a lot of reasons why he thinks Clemson got a jewel in DeVoe, but that none is more important than his work ethic.
"He’s a great person - small kids love him, his teammates love him, I love him, his teachers love him," Hollifield told the Observer. "He never stops working. You read about some of those people, and you go, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ He is really one of those guys.”
A year ago, DeVoe averaged 20 points and seven rebounds and five assists per game while leading Shelby to a 27-4 record. As a student, he has a 4.4 GPA and ranks among the top 10 in his class.
Rival coach Ty Baumgardner, who coached Clemson sophomore Josh Smith at Olympic High in Charlotte, told the Observer that it's likely DeVoe will be the best player his team faces this season.
“He’s really good,” Baumgardner said. “He’s 6-3. He’s strong and he’s got a great basketball body. He can shoot it from deep. He can take you off the bounce and because of his strength and his frame, he doesn’t get knocked off balance and he can finish in the lane.
"He handles it better than I thought...I would have a hard time believing that there will be anybody better than him that we will play all year.”
Brownell says the addition of DeVoe and Grantham will pay off as the Tigers continue to mature as a team over the next several seasons.
"We're a couple of years away from where we need to be and really want to be," Brownell said. "But I think we're laying a really good foundation and creating a culture of commitment with the kids we're bringing in as well as the kids who are here now.
"It was tough last year, and we'll have some tough days this year. We're a little young and not quite as mature as we'll need to be against some of the teams we'll have to play. But we're getting there.
"And now we have the excitement of the new arena and our recruiting is on an up-tick. I really like where we are."