For somebody who is 6-9 and has basketball practically in his DNA, Khadeem Lattin came relatively late to the sport.
Latin's mother is Monica Lamb, who helped the Houston Comets win three WNBA titles from 1998 to 2000. His grandfather, David Lattin, was the center for the Texas Western team that was the first All-African American starting five to win the NCAA title, defeating Kentucky and 'Rupp's Runts' in 1966.
"The way they saw it was, 'Don't pick up a ball unless you know this is really what you want to do.' I didn't know I really wanted to play basketball until I was in the eighth grade and by then, I was behind everyone else," Lattin said at the NBA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va. "They wanted to make sure it was something I loved and something I was passionate about. Luckily, my parents knew all the right people and all the right situations to help me catch up."
Lattin has taken one of the more unconventional approaches to becoming one of the top recruits in the 2014 class. He is listed as the No. 85 player by Rivals.com and the No. 47 player in his class by 247Sports.com.
His sophomore year, he played overseas for the Canarius Basketball Academy in Spain's Canary Islands. Last season, he returned to his hometown of Houston, but was home-schooled, playing for a home-schooled team that played varied squads, including Prime Prep of Dallas, which was in the Super 25 basketball rankings.
"I've always been a pretty strong student with a B average throughout my high school career," Lattin said. "I love (home-schooling) because I can jump so far ahead and also I can spend more time on the floor."
While that sounds like an impossibility, Lattin said home-schooling allows him to intensify his student and basketball skills.
"I can manipulate a day where I do school work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or I can do basketball from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," Lattin said. "My mom and I love being able to rotate our schedule to how it fits our needs."
Lattin developed as a shooter playing in a more European style while in the Canary Islands but says defense is still his strong suit.
"The strongest part of my game is definitely defense, blocking shots, getting rebounds and running the floor," Lattin said. "I'm not a strong offensive-minded player. I'm really unselfish, which is a detriment to one point because I know I should be scoring more because I am usually quicker than the person next to me."
Being home-schooled has also allowed him to work more with former NBA coach John Lucas in Houston.
"Khadeem Lattin reminds me more of Darius Myles or a Lamar Odom, with a little more athleticism," Lucas said. "Khadeem is going to be able to play multiple positions."
When, as Lattin says, the basketball goes flat for him, he'd like to be a veterinarian. He spends a lot of time on his aunt's farm outside of Houston.
"I really want to be a veterinarian and take care of animals, both small and large game," he said. "We do an annual trail ride, I take care of my aunt's animals. I love animals more than people."
Return of Towns: Karl Towns, considered the top recruit at the camp, made his first appearance at the Top 100 camp on Friday. The 7-footer from St Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), has already committed to Kentucky.