Duke Football is just now entering the meat of its season but in the Gothic Wonderland anticipation for basketball has already started in that Countdown to Craziness is just around the corner. Actually, the fact of the matter is that basketball is a 24/7 thing at Duke due to their outrageous success under Coach K.
The next time you're on campus and near Cameron Indoor Stadium, you will notice the long shadow cast from the Schwartz-Butters Athletic Center. On the top floor, where an American Flag is hanging, Coach Mike Krzyzewski surveys his program as he peeks out at the Duke campus.
One floor below Krzyzewski, sits the staff of Duke assistants, Jeff Capel, Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski. But this time of year, those guys are often gone in that they are hitting the recruiting trail. BDN Premium, our extended subscription service takes a look at the scene in our long time favorite feature, the Men's Basketball Team and Recruiting Update. Our concept is often copied by other web sites, but you can never duplicate the spirit of the original -- it's the most informative update around!
BDN was the first site to cover every single major recruiting event and we've done so for four years running. My extended staff of Andrew Slater and Varand Khachadouri, get first hand analysis and live interviews from the key prospects. These guys are not stringers, so they know what you want to hear and read about. BDN is much more than just Mark Watson these days and if you haven't witnessed Slater's knowledge of all things AAU, then you are missing out! He is the best at what he does and a valuable part of Team BDN which has grown into quite a group of fans, experts and alumni. Exciting changes are in the works around here and if you want to know who the staff looked at last week and who they will see this week, this is the place for you. If you want the latest scoop, we're bringing it hard in our latest premium offering. Join other great fans on our private message board and discuss the latest happenings and stay informed on visitors to CTC, visit dates and in home and official visits, player and team updates and so much more. To top it off, we have a great interview with prospect Matt Jones on the way as well.
Let's catch up with the latest - Alex Poythress dropped Duke last evening and this [private] one was coming. I love this kid as a person and player and wish him the best. Duke is rolling the dice on other players, but those dice are somewhat weighted, meaning the Blue Devils feel they are right there with McGary and Parker. Poythress was once a viable option but with Duke being in early with the likes of Jabari Parker amongst others, the staff cooled on Alex in recent weeks and pulled back the interest on his recruitment. As seen in my last update, his visit was set up last and that in itself was a bit of a sign if you know what to look for.
Speaking of Tony Parker, he most recently granted a UCLA site an interview. Check it out. The guys from the site sent me this link last evening and hinted that they thought Duke was in the final two for sure. Folks, Duke has been right there all along. As aloof as Parker is, he has never come close to dropping Duke. Coach K has been consistently active on this one and Parker's mom loves Duke. If it were up to the family, this one would be over. Tony now seems to be coming around as well and in the end, the family could be the trump card. Coach K raved about Parker's hands during the Peach Jam and that is just before things started getting kind of weird with Tony due to his all-over-the-place comments. Duke will visit Tony during an open gym this week. As frustrating as his recruitment has been to fans who follow the process, we could end up happy in the end. I don't expect a decision any time in the next few weeks though and a trip to L.A. is happening. Mark down the date of October 28th, the day Parker and his parents are slated to visit the Duke campus.
We are all sitting on pins and needles awaiting Mitch McGary news as well. The in-home visit went very well, but the family will work through the process. This is another situation where Duke is sitting pretty with the parents but the decision in the end will be made by Mitch. His high school coach continues to be impressed by Duke but his AAU coach is pushing Michigan. McGary was floored when three quarters of the Big House cheered his name during a football game. That's about three times Wallace Wade filled to capacity! Hopefully, he sees that it was orchestrated and gets past it. McGary remains very open but Duke is right there in the mix as things wind down. I will be talking to a few folks close to the situation on his end in the near future and will have a better grasp on the situation at that time.
As for Shabazz Muhammad? We have been telling you from the very start that Duke would ride this one out all the way. I feel it is a three team race between UCLA, Kentucky, and Duke -- nothing new here. I also feel that UCLA and Duke are the leaders with the Bruins currently being the slight favorite. Before you make too much out of Kyle Anderson's commitment to the Bruins as having a dire effect, think again, for it is not that simple. This one could effect the situation in two differing ways, but I can't go into that right now out of respect to a source. Bazz loves the Duke brand and it is not like he will be around long enough for UCLA to build around him, so that might work in the Blue Devils favor. Still, the Adidas ties have some play here but it is hard to imagine Nike not being able to heal any wounds. This one goes to the wire and Duke is firmly involved and has a shot. The idea was to stay in it the whole time and let the cards fall where they may. And for the record, Coach K has been very proactive with all three remaining targets. This one ends in April.
USA Basketball is a friend of the Duke program due to Mike Krzyzeswki heading Team USA. But there are occasions when young men have USA duties and that conflicts with plans on the recruiting front. This is the case with Jabari Parker and Tyus Jones, who will not be able to make it to Countdown to Craziness due to a USA Basketball event on the same weekend. So far, the only two confirmed for CTC are Matt Jones and Rasheed Sulaimon. However, there is a list of some local underclassmen that will be there as well but no major targets as of yet. More on that later.
Let's talk about the prospects mentioned above, starting with Jabari Parker. Parker was looking forward to CTC but will visit campus late this year, likely the UNC at Duke finale. He will also be here on December 17th to play in Cameron in an event that Blue Devil Nation is helping sponsor. Duke remains in solid early shape with Parker and I am on record as saying I feel like we'll get this stud when the dust clears.
Julius Randle cannot make it to CTC due to Homecoming festivities that he will participate in at his high school. He will visit during the season, maybe Duke and UNC at the same time on the date we previously listed. Coach Capel remains at the forefront of his recruitment, visited him last week and will again this week. Duke is in his top five and that is good considering he is a flat out stud in the post. Duke will remain very active with Randle.
When watching Tyus Jones early this summer, the kid really caught my eye. I have always gone with my hunches, so we were the first Duke site to interview him two years ago and did so again before other sites this past summer. As it turns out, Duke is enamored with his play as well and if Coach K likes what he sees, you are firmly on the radar and he is. Duke will remain involved with Jones and are getting to know him more as time moves forward. I feel Duke will be a player in this one but it's still early. Duke will be visiting Tyus Jones this week.
As you know Duke has been on the trail hard of late, so let me recap the past week for you, All of the coaches have had their turns at various open gyms and the list of players visited last week include Nerlens Noel, Noah Vonleh, Matt Jones and Julius Randle.
With that said, let me now clarify who Duke will see this week and in the coming month. This week alone, Duke is scheduled to see the aforementioned Tyus Jones and Jabari Parker. They will also check out Tony Parker again, staying on him hard. Another trip will be made north to see Mitch McGary and to say Duke is on him hard as well is an understatement. There is serious heat with the two bigs. Duke will also check out Jahill Okafor, another kid that BDN was the first to interview among Duke sites, thanks to Andrew Slater. Be sure to go back to the archives to read his interview, which is Andrew-like, meaning very in depth. One quick note - when I mention other sites I am in no way knocking them. I am simply drawing attention to what we do and how dedicated our coverage is. We really are ahead of the curve when we are on the trail and we always look for kids Duke might recruit and that has worked well for us in that it often comes to fruition.
Don't go anywhere because I'm not through yet! Very good news on the Quinn Cook front. As you know, I never thought Cook was the same after his knee injury a season ago. Well, after some rest and treatment, he has rejoined the team in all of their drills. Cook is moving much better and the knee is feeling good. The Duke staff loves having him back in the team workouts. He hasn't had any setbacks since he’s been back. Duke feels he offers an added dimension in that he is a good distributor and that could earn him a spot with hard work. Moving Curry and River off ball combined with his offensive skill set would put a lot of shooter on the court. Cook continues to learn where his teammates want the ball in pick ups.
I will have more news on the Clash in Cameron on Wednesday which is the day we will launch the hype. I am working with a good group of folks as a sponsor of the event that brings Jabari Parker to Cameron on December the 19th, Mitch McGary will also be here but is scheduled to play at North Carolina Central University.
In closing, thanks for being a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium and if you like what you see, please spread the word about the job our staff is doing and that we are indeed most friendly to anybody that comes aboard. Let's go Duke! Discuss this article on the BDN Premium Message Board with other fans. [/private]