Category Archives: Duke Basketball Recruiting News

2016 Wing Vincent King is on the Duke radar

Vincent KingDuke is generally slow to get involved with some younger kids, but the talented Vincent King garnered their attention this pas weekend at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina.  King has not been back long from an overseas trip where he helped Team USA roll through the competition.   The LeBron James Shooting Stars U-16 team was one of the best this season and King was part of that.  His play in North Augusta was seen by many coaches who were also scouting some of his talented teammates and the calls are sure to roll in after the evaluation period for this talented young man.  Vincent King is a guy to keep an eye on moving forward.

It's the first time I have been able to see you play this weekend and I'm impressed. Where did you learn your basketball skills?

I learned from my Dad, he played overseas. He's Vincent King and I'm junior. (goes by V.K.)

How would you describe your game in your own words?

I'm very patient, I don't like to force a lot of stuff but to remain poised and get my teammates involved and play good defense.

You're a young guy but I am sure you are already hearing from a lot of schools.

My [private] Dad has been hearing from a lot of schools, he feels like I'm not really old enough to handle it just yet, so I just keep it that way for now. So, he handles all that stuff.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

A dream school? (pause) No, not really. I watched a lot of schools and it will be three years for now. A lot of things can happen between now and then.

Will you continue your AAU career with the LeBron James Shooting Stars?

For now, yes.  I'm playing with a lot of the lot big time players and there are a lot of schools here.

(the reason I asked the question above was that the team/roster was more or less thrown together this season and many of the kids have never played together)

Do you try to pattern your game after any particular player?

I try to pattern my game after Lebron, Kobe and players like that.

You were just overseas representing your country with Team USA. Tell me a little bit about that experience.

It was a great experience, especially with the way we played. In my first game we scored 99 points, so it was fun. The experience, doing whatever was fun.  I had time to grow and learn.

I'm kind of from the North Carolina region. What do you think of schools like Duke and North Carolina?

Those are great schools. I like those schools a lot and also the education is great there too. You have to work for everything you get there with those schools.

Being from Ohio are you hearing from the local schools like Ohio State?

Yeah, they offered me and I have a great relationship with the head coach and assistants.

Which schools have offered to date?

Ohio State, UNCC, Wisconsin, N.C. State, Iowa State and some others as well. It's humbling to see a lot of schools come in early.

What do you do in your down time?

Try to get out there and play golf a little bit. My Dad runs a gold company, so I try to get out there some.

I spoke briefly with Mr, King after the interview who is very hands on and sits on the bench with the team.  He's a personable guy and tall meaning his son could grow an inch or two yet.  He runs a non-profit golf organization which helps kids in Ohio and has roots and family in North Carolina somewhere in the Western part of the state.  He grew up rooting for North Carolina and was excited to see Coach Williams watching their game.  When asked if this was bad for Duke, he said no, but it was clear he had some heart-strings attached to UNC.  Duke will recruit Jackson in time and Coach K did take in his game while watching dual games and came away impressed.  Luke Kennard, his teammate had good things to say about the youngster as well. Talk about this interview on the message board for members. [/private]

Duke showing interest in 2015 SG Charles Matthews

peach 057One of the hottest players in the class of 2015 is 6-5 shooting guard Charles Mathews and his play during the recent Nike Peach Jam did nothing to cool him off.  In fact, it was clear that Duke and Mike Kryzyzewski had started to recruit Matthews as he stood side by side with John Calipari to take in his game.  Kentucky offered Matthews in June ans since that time he's on his way to becoming a household name.  Matthews can swing to the point guard spot as well with his skill set and his active presence on the court is hard not to notice.  Matthews claims there are no early leaders and that he would not make a decision until his senior season.  Blue Devil Nation caught up to Matthews to get his thoughts on Coach K and the recruiting process to date.

What are you trying to accomplish while participating in the Peach Jam?

I'm just trying my hardest to come out here and win and gain experience while advancing in the tournament.

How would you describe your game in your own words?

I'm just a really versatile player who plays defense and can get to the basket as well.

Which schools have been the most aggressive of late in your recruitment?

Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State and Providence. [private]

Who have you talked to from Duke in the past? {private]

Coach K and Coach Capel.

He's a Chicago guy like you. Cubs or White Sox?

I don't really get into baseball, maybe the White Sox.

Where are you from in Chicago?


Louisville is showing interest.  Did you see Rick Pitino? (other site)

No, I didn't really see him.  I don't pay much attention to the coaches.

Where did you learn or who taught you your basketball skills?

Just playing in the gym with my big brother, cousins and Father.

You played with some Louisville players recently ... (other site)

I think Louisville is bringing in some good guards, so they'll be good.

Will you take any unofficial visits after the evaluation period?

It depends on my mom and whether she wants t go to some schools.

What do you do in your down time?

I just work on my craft and build consistency in my game.

Kentucky was watching you and I know they're interested.  How do you feel about them? (other site)

It means a lot to me that they are coming.

You said that Coach k called you.  What did you talk about?

He just talked to me about being a Chicago guy and he said he was going to start recruiting me as well. It means a lot you know, Coach K is a legendary coach, one of the great names.

USA Basketball. Is that something you would like to get involved in?

Yes. it's a dream of mine to represent my country doing the sport I love to.

What do you have, a hip pointer? (icing his hip)

Yeah, it's kind of tightening up on me in the games.

Are there any early leaders?

I am open to all schools right now and just trying to build relationships with the coaches.

Who are your favorite NBA players?

I like Kevin Durrant and Derrick Rose.

Whats in your game console?

I like to play NBA 2K or College Hoops. Those are the only two games I play.

Thanks for your time and good luck the rest of the way.

Thank you. [/private]

Catching up with 2015 prospect Skal Labissiere

prosMake no mistake, Skal Labissiere is clearly one of the top prospects in the class of 2015 and his play continues to draw hoards of coaches on the AAU circuit.  Labissiere runs the floor like a Gazelle said one major college coach and I have to agree.  If you are looking for a smooth operator who glides up and down the court showing off his length and impressive offensive skills, then Skal is the prospect for you.  As he gains strength, his potential could be frightening in that he seems to be showing constant improvement during each event.  We spoke to Labissiere during the NBAPA Top 100 Camp recently and took time to follow up with him on what has happened since while covering the Nike EYBL Finals also known as the Peach Jam.

How many teams have called since I last saw you at the NBA Top 100 Camp?

I haven't had that many but Duke called, Baylor, Texas, Tennessee and that's about it.

So, how did you originally come to the United States from Haiti?  [private]

My guardian, Gerald Hamilton is a part of a non-profit organization that helps kids from other countries and help people play sports and reach their dreams.

What are your impressions on college basketball in the United States?

In Haiti. we do not watch college hoops, we watch the NBA, so I do not know much about the college game/

Did you have a favorite NBA player growing up?

Kobe and the Lakers. He's a person I would love to meet.

If you could have dinner with any coach all time, who would it be with?

John Wooden. I have books which talks about him.

You have all the major college coaches in the gym to watch you, what are your feelings about the growing attention?

When I came to the United States I didn't know basketball was that serious and that the college recruiting is so crazy. On the court, it is really physical and the game is fast.

Do you have an idea when you will make a decision on where you will play college basketball?

Probably my senior year. I am going to take my time.

What are the most important factors for you when choosing a school?

The system. I want to go somewhere you can run and look at what kind of guys they have there. I want to check out how things are off the court as well and play with guys who have good character.  I know I have to earn my playing time and put in the work once I get there but I just want to have a good relationship with the coach and the teammates around me.

Will you take all of your alloted official visits?

Yes sir. I will take all five official visits.

Have you taken any unofficial visits to date?

Memphis and Ole Miss

What do you like the most about basketball?

Just, you know, I just have fun playing the game.

Any idea on what you would like to study in college?

Probably something to do with business.

Thanks for your time.

Yes sir, no problem.

Jahlil Okafor talks recruiting, package deals and more

Semi others PEach 12 003One of the nations top post prospects is nearing his decision on where he will be playing his college basketball and Blue Devil Nation brings you some exclusive video interview footage from the Nike EYBL Peach Jam.  In the following two video chats Okafor updates you on the very latest in his recruitment and addresses the package deal he will be a part of with Tyus Jones and more. [private]

More to come on Blue Devil Nation Premium! [/private]

Duke offers Luke Kennard

timthumbWe posted a one on one video chat with Luke Kennard (Class of 2015, 6-5, 185 WG, Franklin, OH) helping you get to know the latest target on the Duke radar two days ago but here is a follow-up interview after Coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Jeff Capel took in three of his games during the Nike EYBL Peach Jam.   The southpaw Kennard has the nation's top programs waiting in line to court him and he's improved greatly from a season ago.

The Ohio native is a hustler on the court, playing with that little edge or perhaps I should just simply say be brings a lot of tenacity to the court with his game.  Ohio State has been on him the longest and North Carolina has offered him recently and before the ink dries in this article, he'll probably hold an offer from Duke as well.

Kennard made an unofficial visit to North Carolina during the Duke versus UNC game, but that morning he slipped over to Duke with his high school coach.  And his parents?  They grew up Kentucky fans.  To read more about this and learn much more about Kennard who is also an accomplished quarterback on the football field where he holds a offer from Louisville, join Blue Devil Nation Premium for full site access.

You're a two sport athlete, right?

Yes, I play quarterback in football. I have an offer in from Louisville.

So, which sport do you feel you will play in college? [private]

Probably basketball.

You just finished up your last game, a close loss but you have more or less blown up this weekend. have you been hearing from a lot of folks already?

Not tons yet, but I know some people have been in touch with my Dad and I will talk to him.  We played them (Arkansas Wings) before, we beat them before.

(About this time, father walked up and out his hand on my shoulder and said something none of us quite understood.)

I know Kentucky has been showing major interest.

Cal called. He wanted me to call him.

Cal called you while here?

Well, he called my Dad but said he wanted to talk to me.

Your parents grew up Kentucky fans. is that correct?

Yeah, they did, but right now we don't really have a favorite team.

You had a lot of coaches on you during the last game ,.. Calipari who you said your family heard from and Krzyzewski ... have you heard from Duke?

I have heard from Duke. Actually, they came to the last three games I have played. Coach Scheyer, who played at Duke has been texting me a lot. I think Coach K called by Dad yesterday. I went on an unofficial visit to UNC when thy played Duke and we snuck over that morning and saw Duke. We walked around the campus, me ans my high school coach and it's nice over there.

Some have said Ohio State is the leader and Greg Paulus has been at all of your games here.  Is he the lead assistant for the Buckeyes?

Yep, yeah. they've recruited me the longest. Paulus has been watching but Jeff Bowles, he's been texting me every day. I think he is at he Adidas tournament right now, but yeah, Coach Paulus has been talking to me a whole lot but there is no leader at this time. There is so much happening right now, it's hard to pick a leader at this point, but Ohio stat is definitely up there,

Carolina, Duke. Florida, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan and Michigan State ...

I have always dreamed of this kind of thing, so I am enjoying it and just have to keep getting better.

Have you been involved with USA Basketball yet? And if not, would you like to be?

I haven't yet, but I would like to try.

Vegas or Orlando?

Orlando. I will go to Chicago next week, but we'll finish up in Orlando.

Tell me a little more about your high school football career ..

We run the spread the hurry up. My freshman year i didn't start but sophomore year I started. I played baseball until the sixth grade and stopped to focus on two sports. I always played football and my high school coaches think I should continue and will be good at thar sport as well. I have fun with it.

I understand your parents grew up Kentucky fans?

They grew up in Pinksville. They didn't go to Kentucky but he grew up pulling for them. I've lived in Ohio my whole life, so my Dad has been here for a while now.

When you get around to making your final decision who will be involved in the process?

My parents and my high school coaches

Who is your high school coach?

Brian Bayless. he does a good job.

What areas of you game do you feel needs improvement?

I have been working with this guy on post moves. I think I need work there and I;ve been working on my strength too, I have gotten a lot stronger since last year.

You seem serious on the court and or you compete hard.  Once, I saw you get a little frustrated when teammates would not spread the court properly in the motion offense.

I'm very competitive. I try to talk and get teammates to the right positions so we can execute the play, so yes, I do sometime get frustrated if one is out of position but that's a rarity and you just play through it.

You seem as enthused about playing on the defensive end as much so as the offensive end.

Yes, I try to play hard on both ends as much as I can.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

I watched Kentucky and Ohio State growing up but no dream school.

Do you try to pattern your game after any particular player?

I"ve always watched Reggie Miller play and Durrant. People tell me I look like him.

Have you always played for the King James Shooting Stars?

No. This is the first time for me.  Me, the big man and the point have been together for three or four years and then some guys from up state in Akron joined us, like VJ.

What do you think of your teammate VJ?

Well, he's just a freshman and he played for Team USA. He could be th top player in his class.

Has playing two sports had any negative effects?

We made it pretty far in the playoffs last year so we had jump right into basketball but the two haven't really had any negative effect one way or the other. I still get in the gym though, even during football season.

Would you call yourself a gym rat?

Absolutely. [/private]

Nike EYBL Peach Jam Friday Day Session – Duke Prospects Update

Justise Winslow has a monster day.  Rick Crank for BDN
Justise Winslow has a monster day. Rick Crank for BDN

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC - The Nike EYBL Peach Jam is the premiere event of summer when it comes to AAU basketball in that the games count and a champion will be crowned on Sunday.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is here with his assistant Jeff Capel in tow taking in some of the nations best prospects and Blue Devil Nation is here as well to let you know how the key prospects are playing.

Here is a recap of the morning and afternoon sessions from a Duke angle -

Grayson Allen continues [private]  to be played sparingly for Each One Teach One (E1T1) but a trained eye can see he's not getting the looks or ball when needed to be successful at a high level.

Allen went 3 for 3 from the field today and 2 of 2 from the free throw stripe where Coach Krzyzewski took in part of his game. Allen loves to drive the open lane for a tomahawk dunk and he's done so three times while I have watched. But the bottom line is he is not on a team where he is a good fit and established players are freezing him out.

I, for one, think Allen is going to be just fine when he arrives in Durham and I can tell you that Coach K loves him and for good reason which I will elaborate more on this coming week.

Mac Irvin was playing at the same time as Allen and this meant Capel was there for the whole game and Krzyzewski for the majority of it. In fact, he split time watching two games, strategically standing in the end zone for both courts and a new prospect name could have hit the radar ... more to come on that.

Jahlil Okafor helped lead the Mac Irwin Fire to an 88-79 win over the Texas Titans (Matt Jones former AAU team). The big Okafor tallied 26 points on 10 of 13 shooting from the field and he is one of the few players who has played better or stronger as the tournament grind wears on..

A worthy side notes is the fact that the Duke center prospect dished out 5 assists to go with his 5 rebounds.

Krzyzewski remained in the end zone for the 10:30 games as well and he did so to watch the most coveted PG in the country in Tyus Jones. Howard Pulley came into the game without a win but Jones scored 21 points and dished out 9 assists to lead his team to a 90-78 win over Travelers Basketball.

Today, everybody and their brother is all over the fact he will attend the same school as Okafor and I think this happens. I feel great about the Blue Devils position here and the fact that Krzyzewski has such a strong relationship with Jones.

The Malik Newman show continued where the sleek young prospect scored 26 points shooting the ball much better than he did last evening. But once again, his Jackson Tigers team, which is really weak, lost.

Texas Elite drew no Duke views today but Elijah Thomas went 3 of 7 ending the game with 8 points and 6 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. Thomas, who fouled out last evening was once again saddled with foul trouble where he had 4 total and his team was absolutely crushed by Team Takeover by an 82-44 score.

Not to be out done by Jahlil Okafors' fine performance, Justise Winslow had a monster game where he scored 21 points on 9 of 12 shooting. Winslow also pulled down 7 rebounds and had 6 assists for a wonderful days work.

Winslow is a well-rounded player who still lists ten schools and he said today UCLA and others were trying to enter the picture. I will have an interview up with Winslow shortly.

Houston Hoops dropped Boo Williams 78-62 where Thon Maker had 15 points and 7 rebounds for the loser. I spoke to Maker as well, so we have some interviews when I can find time to transcribe them.

Finally, Coach Krzyzewski took a look at Luke Kennard who dropped 20 point in his teams win. The youngster plays a hard nose style of basketball with that little edge of intensity. Quite simply, he likes to compete.

I will go into my thought on players a bit later, but for now, I have to prep for the evening session and then later find some rest to close out Saturdays games before taking the road trip back to Durham.

Discuss this and more on the BDN Premium message board with fellow members.

Sidebar - Coach K stood beside and chatted up Kentuckys' John Calipari.  I sat with Johnny Dawkins for one game catching up on old times and had a chance to talk to Chris Collins as well.  Also, welcomed Mike Brey to the ACC and had a nice talk with him as well.  For the record, Duke will play the Irish once on the road this season.  Stanley  Johnson had a good game today where he dropped 34 and 14. [/private]