When it comes to reporting on how national basketball recruits’ official on-campus visits have gone, the national media seems to need to trip all over each other to get the first breathless report up, even if all it says is the visit “went well.” Great information, huh? I have found that sometimes if you wait a few days, let the young man and his family get home, take a breath, and sort their feelings out, you get a much clearer view of what they may be thinking.
With Chase Jeter, the 6’10” forward out of Las Vegas (Class of 2015) who visited last weekend for the UNC game, [ even after settling back in at home with his family and having a week to think about it, he still seems to be glowing from the experience he had in [private] Durham.
It’s not that Jeter and his family did anything so unusual during the weekend. He and his mom and dad arrived on a rainy Friday morning, had lunch with Coach K and the staff, watched practice in the afternoon, and had dinner that evening with Luke Kennard and the Kennard family. On Saturday they enjoyed a campus tour, and just relaxed and hung out with the current players and some future ones before that evening’s game against the Tar Heels.
Jabari Parker was tasked with being Chase’s “shadow” for the weekend, and that can’t be bad, right? But Chase, Luke, and Myles Turner also hung out a lot with Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Rasheed Sulaimon, among others. He was really impressed by what he saw all weekend, stating that the campus and the facilities exceeded his expectations – he was surprised the campus was as big as it is.
Once at Cameron for the game, Chase was essentially blown away by what he experienced, describing it as an “insane atmosphere.” It was his first time in Cameron, and in fact his first time on campus or indeed in the state of North Carolina, and he thought the fans were awesome.
But the time Chase got to spend with the coaches was a very important part of the visit as well. Of course he was able to continue to develop his relationship with his primary recruiter – Wojo – but he also took the opportunity to get to know Coaches Capel and James a whole lot better, and to connect with Coach K in his natural habitat.
The most interesting comments Chase made in today’s interview were when he described how special being a Duke basketball player would be. Why? Because he learned about, and saw up close, “the pride and passion of having Duke across your chest.” “Duke is filled with top notch students and athletes, and everyone is just genuine people, top of the line. Elite all the way.” He stated that he has not seen anywhere like it, mainly because of the quality of the people involved at the university and within the basketball program.
Chase’s parents, Kim and Chris, felt the same way; according to Chase, they “loved” the whole experience.
So where does this leave us with young Mr. Jeter? Well, he did have a great visit to Arizona recently too, though that was an unofficial visit and the trip to Duke was an official. But Sean Miller’s program is attractive to him too, as their facilities and fans impressed him. Chase stated that Arizona and Duke are his “top two maybe” but was quick to add that many other schools remain in the mix, mentioning UCLA, Oregon, Kansas, and UNC, among others. But still, even when discussing the fact that many other schools are under consideration, he mentioned again that Duke was “awesome.”
How is he going to decide? He’s a thoughtful young man, and his parents are smart and caring people too. This is not going to be a rash decision. But Chase did mention that he’ll be watching the NCAA Tournament, and that how his suitors do in the tournament may in fact be a factor for him, because he wants to be part of a winning program.
Chase refuted the rumors that he is going to be reversing field and making a quick decision. The timeline he told me he had back in January stands – he anticipates making a decision in the spring, possibly late April or early May.
There is no way to know exactly what is going through a young man’s mind when he has this many people, this many famous coaches, this much media, coming at him all the time. But Chase Jeter is a pretty grounded (off the basketball court) kid, from a great family, who obviously feels that Duke made a very positive impression on him last weekend in Durham, and can see himself fitting in on this campus and wearing the Duke blue uniform.[/private]