One of the nations most prolific prospects talks about his recent visits from the staffs of North Carolina and Duke in his USA Today blog entries.
Zion Williamson is one of those special players ganering a lot of interest which included the entire Blue Devil staff this past weekend. Here is an excerpt from USA Today.
''I had Coach K for an in-home this weekend too.
It was the day after the in-home with North Carolina. They showed up with a full house! I mean they brought everyone; Coach K, Coach (Jeff) Capel, Coach (Jon) Scheyer and Coach (Nate) James. That was big for me. They said they wanted to show me how important a player I was to them and they definitely did that.
We talked about how choosing Duke could mean a lot to me well after basketball because of the brand it is. Then we talked about life at Duke and Coach K said that since they don’t have athletic dorms you get to know all of the students really well.
At a school like Duke, it’s tough to get in, so he said you never know who you could be living with. You might be on the hall with a person who will be President one day or a brain surgeon or something like that.
I already felt like we had a close relationship, but Coach K said he wants our relationship to be even deeper.
The Duke Blue Devils hosted point guard Trevon Duval for their win over arch rival North Carolina this past week. Duval is one of the two top targets left in the Class of 2017 for Duke with the other being Kevin Knox.
Duval has good length and size, standing 6-3 and weighing in at around 180 pounds. He has a muscular upper body which will help to make him college ready a season from now.
Rated as the top point guard in his class, Duval stayed through Friday for his official visit with The Blue Devils. During his visit he was able to tour the Duke campus with all of the assistant coaches and meet with Mike Krzyzewski.
Duval was also able to spend time with Blue Devils to be Gary Trent Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. who were visiting as well. Trent would end up staying for the Duke win over Clemson before returning to California to finish up his high school basketball season.
The coveted point guard prospect also got to see the top-notch NBA-like facilities. He was also able to hang out with current freshman Harry Giles Jr., Jayson Tatum and other Duke players.
There were a couple of signs encouraging Duval to come to Duke in the stands during the Duke win over North Carolina. Daval was able to see the rivalry up close and personal while sitting with his Father and other close to him.
In between timeouts the Cameron Crazies tried to get Duval to sit with them via a chant. But the noise and the intensity from a thrilling win over North Carolina made it impossible to be heard with the band and music playing.
It probably goes without saying that Duval knows there is a wide open spot at the point guard position at Duke. It is likely as well that he is aware that he would play with a talented cast of players who will compete at the highest level.
Duval is very physical on his drives and goes north to south in quick fashion. He is an explosive player who can score the ball and is working on being a better distributor. Duval has a great handle and can pull up for the jumper with ease. He can adjust with the ball on the fly with his athleticism and is getting better from beyond the three-point stripe.
Kansas, Arizona and Baylor are among other schools that have offered Duval. Most consider Kansas where he visited on January the 31st and Arizona to be the main competition for Duke. However, Duke seems to be in good shape in his recruitment and the word is he had a nice visit.
Duke also had a visit from Alex O'Connell for the game with Clemson. O'Connell and the aforementioned Carter and Trent make up the 2017 Duke class to date.
To nobodies real surprise, Wendell Carter made his decision to play basketball at Duke University official this morning. An imposing big man who stands 6-10 with strong physical play, Carter is a sure thing at the collegiate level.
The Blue Devils had been on Carter for well over a year, where Jeff Capel took the lead assistant role in the process. And there was no shortage of Coach Mike Krzyzewski making his intent known all along.
Carter had long been thought a Duke lean despite some flirtation with Harvard coached by former Blue Devil coach and player, Tommy Amaker. Other big time schools did not bother even ringing his doorbell past a certain point feeling he was just too good of a fit for the Blue Devils.
The writing was on the wall even more-so when Gary Trent Jr. selected the Blue Devils. The two were and always have been a package deal and look forward to playing with one another. This was also another case of how Krzyzewski's USA Basketball connections helped once again, for both were mainstays in the youth program for the country.
Carter averaged 21.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.5 blocks, leading his team to a state title at Pace Academy last season. During the camp season he played for CP3 in the Nike EYBL Circuit and had numbers of 14.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in a system where you play lesser minutes.
Having seen Carter play over the years, I can tell you that he's a baller. He's likely a power forward but can play center. He's big, long and imposing with solid basketball instincts. Carter is simply beast to be arround the rim where his presence alters shots. He can drain a jump shot or put the ball on the floor to score and finishes strong around the basket.
Carter should flourish in the Duke system where he will likely be playing with some solid perimeter guys. The Blue Devils might return Frank Jackson and Luke Kennard while adding Trent and others before others before the recruiting period is said and done.
The Blue Devils will now turn their attention to Kevin Knox, Matt Coleman and Mohamed Bamba. And who knows, another player could be in the mix before all is said and done.
In closing, Duke got one of the best big men in the country to join Gary Trent and Alex O'Connell. Those additions have the Blue Devils moving up in the team rankings and they are far from finished.
One of the nation's top sharpshooters, Gary Trent Jr. also known as G-Money, selected the Duke Blue Devils on ESPNU over Michigan State and UCLA. Trent is a fill it up offensive standout who some say is a basket waiting to happen.
''At Duke it’s the brotherhood there and Coach K showing me the things that I can do there. With Coach K, everything is top of the line,'' said Trent before donning a Duke cap. He continued, “He wants me to come in and be who I am. He wants me to play my game. He wants my ego. Bring my whole package with me and be ready to play.”
Trent Jr. joins Alex O'Connell in a two-man class thus far in the early campaign. Much like other Duke players past, he had a strong connection to USA Basketball. He also played AAU Basketball for Howard Pulley which produced Tyus Jones and has another Duke prospect for one season from now in Tre Jones.
The second player to be for Duke a season from now, visited Duke in an official capacity for Countdown to Craziness. There, he joined his good friend Wendell Carter, who will be making his decision any day now as well.
The two could form yet another package deal for Duke and they will not stop recruiting there, for they're in hot pursuit of Coleman, Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba. Both Trent Jr. and Carter Jr. sported Duke caps on their visit.
Trent is a consensus top ten or better pick and stands 6-5 weighing in at a legitimate 200 pounds. He has a knack for scoring and opening the ga me up for teammates as teams concentrate on him.
As good as Trent is today, his game is still evolving where he hopes to become a triple threat player. He has a good first step and can finish with both hands around the basket. Also worth noting is that he is the son of Gary Trent, who had a successful NBA career.
Trent is a high-octane scorer with a tough mentality. I have seen his work ethic up close and personal on the Nile EYBL Circuit where he drills in between games instead of socializing. During the games he scores the ball in a variety of ways, but may be best off the dribble at this stage in his career. He also has the tools to become a good lock down defender with some more coaching and work.
The Duke Blue Devils men's basketball staff has been rolling right along on the recruiting trail. Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils have seen many key prospects up close and personal, including Kevin Knox , Wendell Carter Jr., Mohamed Bamba and Gary Trent Jr. as well as others during the open period.
Last evening Duke had their in home visit with key prospect Gary Trent Jr. Krzyzewski's entire staff consisting of Jeff Capel, Nate James and Jon Scheyer was there to speak of the Duke way of doing things.
There is plenty to talk about when the Duke staff visits. National Championship rings are worn and this kind of thing is what is expected when wearing the uniform. Duke has also had phenomenal success in developing players for the next level. The staff likely spoke of developing as a person both on and off the court and the top notch NBA style facilities in Durham.
Then there are the Cameron Crazies and the fan passion to speak about and the constant national spot light as well. I think you get the picture that Duke Basketball is an elite force without me going further.
The most impressive thing to me about Gary Trent Jr. is his work ethic and his desire to get better. During a Nike EYBL event I attended last summer, Trent could be seen drilling himself in between games. While most players were socializing, he was looking to the next game his Howard Pulley team would face while going through workouts.
In watching Trent, you realize he can score the ball. He is one of the most effective offensive talents in high school basketball. Perhaps, he is the best. The budding star has the ability to play great defense as well and expand his game.
Duke has made Trent one of their most important targets. He visited with his AAU teammate Trey Jones last season where he took in a Duke game while standing with the Cameron Crazies.
Trent will be visiting Cameron Indoor Stadium again for the much anticipated Countdown to Craziness on October the 22nd. It is also worth noting that he will be joined on that visit by Wendell Carter. These two outstanding players have developed a close relationship on the Nike EYBL circuit.
It is also worth noting that both Trent and Carter have USA Basketball experience as well. That experience has been something which has worked out well for Duke of late. After all, Mike Krzyzewski just led the nations team to a third Gold Medal.
Duke is in a position to offer a lot of playing time and open spots to the nation's top prospects. Duke will lose every projected starter on this years talented team. In fact, they could lose as many as eight players.
The Blue Devils have had one verbal commitment to date from Alex O'Connell. Should a player like Trent commit, say shortly after Countdown to Craziness; that would get the ball rolling for the next great class.
Gary Trent Jr. is one of the Duke Blue Devils most sought after targets. Today he announced his final four schools via twitter which includes Duke, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan State and UCLA.
Trent has been a constant star on the Nike EYBL circuit this season and a participant in the USA Basketball program. Trent most recently announced that he would transfer from Apple Valley HS in Minnesota to traditional power Findlay Prep.
Trent played for Howard Pulley where he teamed with another Duke prospect in Tre Jones who is the brother of National Champion Tyus Jones.
The shooting wing guard is considered a top ten or can't miss prospect at the college level.
Gary Trent Senior was the 11th pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. His size and power play garnered him the nickname "The Shaq of the MAC". when he played for Ohio. His Ohio University No. 20 jersey was retired on January 21, 2012, during halftime of an Ohio vs. Miami, OH game.
BDN Extra - Gary Trent Jr. on his unofficial visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium last season where Duke entertained several key prospects -
It was fun, it was crazy. Every time you see them on TV with people putting their hands up or out on the out-of-bounds happens. You kind of get a feeling of what it is like to be in a game there in person and they are crazy and loud. I like the little Harry Potter feel the campus has to it with the old buildings. It was nice. I got to see their facilities too and they're top-notch. Everything is great there and the standards they have, it's all just really good.