Tom Konchalski has been the editor and publisher of the highly respected High School Basketball Insider Report for more than thirty-five years. Currently, more than 225 colleges subscribe to his service. He is one of the select McDonald's All-American voters. After a weekend at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Konchalski sat down with Blue Devil Nation to talk about some Duke commitments and prospects.
Mason Plumlee: First of all, he has surprising athleticism. He can really jump. The trouble is his body lacks flexibility. He's got to get pliable. I really think he needs a person to work with him on that. He plays too erect. He never really bends his knees. He tries to back people down. He's got the quickness. The main thing he lacks is flexibility. He's got the size. He's very coachable. [private] He'll be a four-year player there and I think he'll be a good player in time.
Ryan Kelly: Ryan has so much more fluidity to his game right now. He really does so many things. He's got nearly a perfect skill set for a guy 6'9." He's not going to be a three. He's a step out four man, who has very good skills. Defensively, he'll be capable of defending the four, but he just needs to get stronger. Plumlee less so, but also most kids coming from high school need to get a lot stronger.
Andre Dawkins: He's a very good shooter... 6'4"...plays in a system. He's a guy that you don't need to get fifteen shots per game. He'll play within the system. He will knock down the three-pointer, but he's very patient. He doesn't really look to create his shot that much, but he'll take the shots that come to him. He'll be a very good system player. He's a big off guard that can shoot the ball. He's a good example of the saying "good shots make good shooters and bad shots make bad shooters."
Tyler Thornton: He's a utility guard. I don't think he's a pure point guard. He's not a great outside shooter, but he has really active hands. I think he'll be a defensive catalyst. He'll be a utility guard...a little point guard...a little off guard. He's a program player. You might say that's a euphemism for a career backup, but he'll be a program player. He'll be part of a winning process. Listen I don't think they're going to beat North Carolina or win the ACC or a national title with Thornton starting for them, but I think he can help.
Josh Hairston: Now, Josh Hairston's got a chance to be really good. He's 6'8," skilled, athletic with a good body, yet hasn't really hit the weights much yet. I think a big part of going after Tyler was that he was a D.C. teammate of his and continue to work D.C. Assault. Nolan was the first player to commit from the program and, if these two also have a good experience at Duke, they will be in good position to get future players as well.
John Wall: He's Evil Knievel without the cycle. He's the most explosive athlete in the class. He's just in a different class. He's 6'3 ½." He tries to just run by people. He plays at one speed. He's got to...if hes going to play and be an elite point guard...learn to play at different speeds. He'll drive by you...dunk on you...throw alley oops, but he's got to learn to not always try to play at one hundred miles per hour. As a point guard right now, he'll get assists mainly because he'll get by people and create numerical disadvantage. Through that...he'll find people, but he's got to learn to play at different speeds. He's just explosive. He's got to shoot it better. He's got to get more selective with his shot and push the ball at different paces. Someone has got to work with him on that...but there is no one in this class at his level of athleticism.
Harrison Barnes: I've never had a chance to see him play yet, but he's supposed to be a terrific player. I was at Reebok, when he was at Nike.
Kyrie Irving: Very good player. His father is in the Hall of Fame at BU. He played at Adlai Stevenson in the Bronx. His name is pronounced "Dedrick," but it's spelled Drederick. He played mostly for Jarvis at BU. He was a very, very good player at BU. He was about 6'3." Kyrie is now 6'1." He transferred in from Montclair Kimberly Academy. He would be eligible today, but they don't play again until Thursday. Right now, he's sort of a combination guard...at least 6'1." I'll tell you what I thought he and Isaiah Epps (Pitt) were the best junior guards in Jersey, but now he may very well be the best. He can shoot the ball very well. He can handle it and he's younger physically. See, Isaiah Epps is going to have to go prep school next year. He's run out of eligibility. I think he's a combination guard, but because of his size...he's 6'1"...wherever he goes they'll probably try to make him into a point guard. He's a talented player. He could play at that level. Would he be an all-American at Duke? Probably not, but he could be very good for them.
Jason Morris: Well, he didn't shoot well today again. His father, Phil, played in NY too. He lives with his mother down in Augusta, but the father played in New York and first talked about him when he was in the sixth grade...but everybody thinks their kid is great in the sixth grade. He goes to a very good school. He's going to play with the Gauchos, but he's played with other organizations in the past. Jason Morris has great explosion with the ball. He really elevates. He's got Otis-like elevation with the ball. He can stop on a dime and explode with his jump shot. I think he'll be very good and he's mature for his age. [/private]