Duke star Kyle Filipowski’s journey took a Bronx detour

Kyle Filipowski’s journey has brought him to the NCAA Tournament, where Duke will face James Madison on Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

Following the tournament, the 7-foot sophomore is expected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. 

On his way, the native of Middletown in Orange County, N.Y., about 70 miles northwest of Manhattan, took a detour to The Bronx. 

Kyle Filipowski blocks a shot by Vermont Catamounts guard Shamir Bogues. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Filipowski and his twin brother, Matt, who plays at Harvard, spent their sophomore year of high school at Fordham Prep. 

Filipowski explained Saturday how he ended up at Fordham Prep after starting his high school career at Minisink Valley High School. 

“I was looking to get out of my local town and trying to find a private school to give me more exposure, basketball-wise,’’ Filipowski said. “So I decided, through an AAU connection, that landed me at Fordham Prep.” 

Fordham Prep, though, is not typically a place where players become among the top players in the nation. 

Filipowski said the level of play wasn’t as high as he’d expected. 

“It didn’t really turn out the way I had hoped and it didn’t really provide much for me,’’ Filipowski said. “We were young and you can be influenced. It was an unfortunate situation, but I decided to transfer to another school and things turned out fine after that.” 

Kyle Filipowski is back in NYC for March Madness. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

While the school reached the CHSAA title game during Filipowski’s lone season there, he said he didn’t gain much athletically. 

“Absolutely not,’’ Filipowski said. 

“The minute they walked in, I knew I wouldn’t have them until graduation,’’ Fordham Prep head coach Brian Downey said of the brothers. “Maybe I’d have them for two years and then they’d reclassify.” 

Instead, Filipowski and his brother ended up at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts after just the one season. 

But Downey saw enough of Filipowski to see what his future might entail. 

Duke Kyle Filipowski (30) celebrates after defeating the Vermont Catamounts in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at the Barclays Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Downey said Kyle was the shorter of the twins at the time, but he was still about 6-6 with guard skills. 

“Kyle had a great shot and touch,’’ Downey said. “He was special. It was great having them while they were there.” 

And while Downey didn’t expect Filipowski to become as tall as he did, he’s not surprised by where his basketball career has taken him. 

“I thought he’d be a high, high Division I prospect,’’ Downey said. “He had that written all over him.” 

It turned out that way, even if it was an unusual path.

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