Tag Archives: Anthony Barber

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Van Coleman breaks down Duke prospects and more for BDN

Without question, Van Coleman is one of the most respected talent evaluators in the recruiting world.  In our latest premium offering, Van shares his thoughts on several key high school prospects with BDN’s Mark Watson.  Coleman joins a long list of national analysts that have shared their takes on the nation’s best talent with Blue Devil Nation Premium, and as a member you will be sure to enjoy what he has to say about Jabari Parker, Semi Ojeleye, and several other Duke targets[private].

More to come on BDN Premium. [/private]

NBAPA Camp Recap – The Duke perspective

Ojeleye addresses the mediaThis past weekend’s NBAPA Top 100 High School Camp in Charlottesville, VA was a different experience than in years past, and in many respects that was not a good thing.  Media access was restricted significantly, quality one-on-one interviews were very tough to come by, and the whole atmosphere was a tad flat.

Whether the reason was the coaches just failing to reach the kids, or the players themselves not bringing much energy, the result was some unusually uninspired basketball on a huge stage.  After a lackluster start to the event, the kids finally put their games into gear on the final day.  But the truth nevertheless is that more players hurt their ratings than helped themselves.

It’s no secret that Duke had only a few real targets at the event, those being Jabari Parker, Al Freeman, and Semi Ojeleye.  Here’s what I saw from those three as well as a number of others:

Jabari Parker - His skill set makes him a man among children. He can pretty much do it all on the court;  I saw no weaknesses in his game in the two games he [private] played.  When he wanted to score, he put the ball on the floor and scored, utilizing a variety of driving moves to do so.  Jabari was cordial and open with the media, but no matter what others claim, he did no one-on-one interviews, other than one national one.  Michigan State has made a move on Parker, but Duke is still right there. My pal Van Coleman, who you will hear more from this week, said he understood Duke led for his services. Maybe they do, but I am not by any means ready to call Duke the clear leader here.  A quick look at Duke’s outstanding offers and the way they’re recruiting certain positions suggests they may feel as I do.  The Blue Devils certainly are a player for Parker, but in all honesty I do not feel as good about it as I did a year ago when I felt he was Duke’s to lose. He will trim his list in July, and regardless, the Blue Devils will make that final cut.

Al Freeman - When I first heard Duke had offered Freeman, I was stunned. I had watched him play at the Carolina Challenge and frankly, could not see it. I haven’t changed my mind, or more accurately, his play hasn’t changed it. Freeman is a good defender who gets after it at that end, but he is not a point guard and certainly not a shooting guard either.  Dave Telep really overrated this kid early on, but he will drop in the rankings. Freeman is stuck in tweener land, and it hasn’t helped him that his chemistry with Cat Barber for the Boo Williams AAU squad has been average at best.  Nobody invited to an event like the NBAPA is a “bad” player of course, but in my opinion Freeman is just not a kid who can help at the level Duke plays.  Freeman had so-so numbers this weekend, and did nothing to get anyone talking about him. But I do give him high marks for talking on the court and trying to pump his teammates up. I was unable to catch Freeman for an interview, but from all accounts little has changed beyond his recent decision to transfer to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas.

Semi Ojeleye - As you already know, this kid is mature, bright and grounded.  But can he play?  Yes.  As Andrew has mentioned, Semi has that ESPN-ready game, meaning he will launch the 3 pointer and also throw down the thunderous dunk. It is a bit freaky to see a 6’6″ 220 pound player launch three point shots at this stage in his career, but Semi does it.  But he needs to tighten his handle and go to work down low more. He is usually stronger than his opponent, so get down on the blocks more, already!  Ojeleye is a good defender and had a lot of steals. His team made it to the finals, but lost to a team featuring 7’5″ Mamadou Ndiaye.  Ojeleye held his own  guarding Ndiaye.  7’5″?  That’s insane.  BTW, his first name is pronounced “Shimi,” and we had a laugh at me wrecking his name a couple of times after asking about it. Talk about tongue tied.  Ojeleye is a good team player and I would love to see him in a Duke uniform.

Anthony Barber - This kid is quick off the dribble, gets to the rack fast, and finishes well. He’s also stronger than he looks.  But he looks for his shot first and said as much to me in our interview. He will project as a PG and in time will be fine there, but right now he is a shooting guard. He lets his dribble get too far away from his body at times, causing a lack of control, but this is easily missed by many observers who are in awe of his speed. I think he should be a better defender too.  But again, he is a bit of a black hole, hunting his shot on every play, so it was not surprising that while Barber was the camp’s top scorer, his assist totals were less than impressive.  That may be the reason campers did not vote him to the All-Star game.  Regardless, in my book he was a top 10 player at this camp, and most other analysts agreed. Barber will remain at or near the top of the list when talking guards in his class. There are some kids you can tell are enjoying the game and Barber is one of them.  I like his game a whole lot, but I am not sure Duke likes it enough to offer.

Parker Cartright - So, I started to hear that Cartright grew up a Duke fan, so I made sure to ask him about that, as you will see in an interview. Most everybody at the camp liked him, but he looks like a junior high baller in that he has a slight build and may be 5’9″ on his tiptoes. The kid is unselfish and really involves his teammates in the action, and his speed can break a defense down.   He’s a pesky defender, but if a bigger player gets him on his hip, he has a hard time recovering.  He is high energy and has the drive to get better, and those are two things all coaches look for in a prospect.  Great kid to talk to and has offers from Arizona and UCLA, but he lit up when I asked him about Duke.  Problem is Duke is in with so many PG types, and many analysts feel he will be tough to get off the west coast in any event.

Cliff Alexander – I wanted to see where his head was and it is in the midwest. Duke will not waste its time unless something changes. He dominated at the camp and was clearly the best center there, keeping in mind that post play as a whole was not impressive in Charlottesville.  Alexander has a mature body for his age and has the will to battle inside.

Noah Vonleh - His game impressed me; his off-court demeanor did not. I hardly got anything out of him during a multiple site interview, meaning he plays it close to the vest and/or is not enthused. UNC is on him hard and Duke may get involved with this 2014 kid, but my impression from the interview is that it may be too late to get in deep here unless Duke increases its effort level soon.

Wayne Selden – Wayne Selden is always consistent, but he did not stand out this weekend. Duke feels he will be a long shot and will likely stay on the sidelines on this one, but I like his game and his size.

Kavon Looney - This was the first time I focused in on his game and I liked him a lot. The 2014 star can do a little bit of everything and he played well here, holding his own against older players, particularly on the boards. We tried, but never could manage to get together for a one-on-one.  He is worth keeping an eye on.

 

Others who caught my eye at the NBAPA Camp - Kuran Iverson, Andrew Harrison, Brannen Greene.  Iverson appeared to be more motivated than when many last saw him, and he seemingly impressed everyone. Harrison is a complete player and was the better of the twin brothers on this weekend.  Greene has improved leaps and bounds since the last time I saw him play.

Rodney Hood - No, he was not there.  But I got asked by everybody what I thought about his pending decision.

Small world - So one writer who worked in Indy and is now with Rivals asked me about Hood. Turns out he wrote that controversial article on Coach K that appeared in the Indy paper during the FInal Four weekend when Duke defeated Butler. It was the article in which they acted as if a child used a crayon on the front page, drawing devil horns on Krzyzewski.  It was tacky and unprofessional — a true brain poot by anyone’s standards. I then got the low-down and will only say he met with Duke officials per his paper’s request. For our SID’s privacy and others I will refrain from the details. He claimed he was awoken by a call from a friend, who asked, “What were you thinking?” He also claimed he knew nothing about it. When asked who did it, he claimed he didn’t know. Yeah, right. How does it not come out who took it upon themselves to let the paper go out as it did before being yanked off the newsstands?

Site shake ups - I saw Jerry Meyer in a 247 Camp and asked him when he went with them. As you know, 247 has courted us in a big way, but we chose to remain independent. Turns out Rivals let him and his big salary go, leaving Eric Bossi in charge along with the newly-hired Alex Kline, who uses smoke and mirror tactics better than anybody I know. Anyhow, I then learned ESPN shut down its High School division and that there was a major loss of jobs in the process.

Trouble ahead for the NBA? – A power struggle is brewing with the NBA and you could feel the tension in many cases. I had an interesting conversation with Dave Wasserman and while I cannot share what was said, let’s just say they will have a mess of legal issues once the Finals end.

The USA Basketball effect - Many were dismayed at the talent level at the NBAPA camp.  It was the worst I’ve seen to date. Some quickly pointed the finger at USA Basketball, but I found it interesting what the overall take was on the future of patriotic hoops. The consensus was that props go to Mike Krzyzewski for his role in getting the world’s best on the same page and wanting to play. But many feel that once he steps down, USA Basketball will lose a lot of its popularity, and as a result the camps will be full again. Only time will tell on this one, but the theory is plausible and if accurate, it’s a real testament to Coach K’s influence. Speaking of USA Basketball, I will head to Coach K’s press conference tomorrow, and look forward to seeing what he has to say about his upcoming adventures. [/private]

BDN Premium – Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

Rasheed Sulaimon played "Horse" while visiting Duke. Maybe that helped him win the three point shooting contest at the McDonald's All American game? BDN presents another loaded team and recruiting update article for premium members.

Well, it’s that time of year again when AAU ball cranks up and for BDN that means we’ll be hitting several big events. Austin Rivers decision to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft wasn’t that big of a surprise to us and we all wish him luck. Rivers decision is the first thing that will set the future into motion as the staff will be hot on the recruiting trail.  While many Duke fans hate to see Rivers lead, he can help the program at the next level and they will show that shot against UNC several times early on in his pro career.  He joins Kyrie Irving as players kids will really identify with.

I expect Mason Plumlee will (you must be a BDN Premium member to read the 2000 plus word update, so join today!) [private] enter his name into the draft to get feedback as to his draft status which must be done by April 3rd. Plumlee from all accounts is torn about his decision but the departure of Austin Rivers could help. Had Rivers returned the offense would have been run through him and the Blue Devils would have been his team. His high school coach David Gaines said that he was weighing his options and that one thing he would want is more touches or to be used in a more prominent role, It seems part of Plumlee wants to return and finish what he started and play with his brother Marshall for a year. Marshall could surely use his tutoring and Duke could surely use his presence in the paint. But an equal part of Mason wants to go pro and it may come down to where he is projected in a deep draft. It’s probably even odds right now but that could change.  If I were to guess, I think Mase will probably want to go through his senior season and be a more focal point for the team but I am not majorly confident with the info I have received to date and it is worth noting that I have not talked this  over with some of my usual sources.

Should Plumlee head to the league with Rivers, Duke will be in major need of a big or two. There are two options, one being Tony Parker and the other Alex Oriakhi, the Connecticut transfer. Should Plumlee go, it would be a match made in heaven with Oriakhi. As for Tony Parker, he announced that he would be making a decision on April 11th and I can tell you now that Duke is a definite player. Coach K locked in on his parents early on and there is a very solid relationship and trust between them. While Parker has seemingly bought into all of the anti Duke recruiting rhetoric and squirmed away at the mention of Duke, he may finally be seeing the light and the opportunity he has stepping right into playing time at Duke. Parker showed signs of getting a bit out of shape at the McDonald’s All American drills but who knows the circumstances or that he didn’t have something going on? Anyhow, he has trimmed his list to Duke, Kansas and UCLA. IMO, Los Angeles is too far from home unless all his pals go there and that means it is likely down to two, Kansas and Duke. I think the Blue Devils have proximity in their favor as well and may pull this one out. Their odds are much better than they were a month ago at this time and Parker knows he would plug right in. Parker’s decision may also effect the aforementioned Oriakhi.

Shabazz Muhammad won the dunk contest and he will choose a school on April 11th as well on an ESPN special. His decision likely has bearing on Trey Zeigler, a recent visitor and I expect nothing will happen with him until Bazz pulls the trigger due to available slots. Duke can now show Muhammad that he can be there next one and done freshman and that may be enough to pull him in. Zeigler offers maturity and the ability to guard certain types of players on defense. It will be interesting to see how all plays out, but I feel one will be on the roster at this time. And there is still the shadow of an NCAA investigation over Bazz and this could effect him going to what many felt the leader has been for months, Kentucky.

The Duke coaches will assault the AAU circuit full throttle before July for that is when Coach K will be heading up Team USA and he’ll take assistants Collins and Wojo with him. That means April is an important month and the staff will take in both Nike EYBL sessions and other events I will share at a later date. Jeff Capel, Nate James and Chris Spatola will fill in while the staff builds the team they hope wins gold.

Several Duke Assistants have been considered for other jobs but the info coming in is somewhat shaky so I will not share the rumors. The Illinois job supposed linked three Duke types, Johnny Dawkins who led Stanford to the NIT title game, Steve Wojciechowski and of course Chris Collins. It looks like the job has been filled and Collins was like the next one or two choices had the job remained open. Nothing official while I am typing this though … It is looking more and more like a mid major stepping stone job may be the ticket for some. Back to Dawkins, he would probably like to go somewhere it is easier to recruit but his Stanford team will compete for the PAC 10 the next two season should he stay put and I expect him to do so.

The coaches will be meeting with players to tell them what to work on for the coming season and what role they envision them taking on.  And you have heard a lot of transfer rumors by now and I fully expect some movement.  It’s hard for me to share too much on that front in that it is a sensitive and private issue for the program, but the most rumored kid to leave Michael Gbinije seems prepared to returned and told his AAU coach he knew Coach K knew what he was doing.  It has also come out that Seth Curry can or will graduate and that he entertained going overseas but no firm decision has been made.  It was odd that Austin Rivers seemed to slip and say he was gone in the locker room after the tournament loss, but there was a lot of emotion going on.

I can tell you that there will be a shake up and Duke will try to get back to playing better defense and I expect all players will be challenged and have to earn their time next season.  The coaches, like us. have to let all shake out and each player or prospect move will effect one another with concern to the players/prospects in play.

The Carolina Classic has concluded and we’ll add some late scouting reports and get the thoughts of others before weeks end.  I would say Theo Pinson is the only prospect firmly on the radar and while there are other good players, none of them are past the evaluation mode.  For those new to BDN Premium, the evaluation mode consists of players they are putting feelers out on.  Many kids, like prospect Tyrone Outlaw will get a look and he will visit in an unofficial manner, but it is common for local star prospects to drop by campus.  Jeff Capel is the lead guy for Outlaw but I’m not sure he would make the final cut.  However he does add toughness to the team he will play for and he can guard bigger players.  Outlaw will have to improve his perimeter game to become a real candidate.  Duke has showed some interest in Jaquel Richmond as well but something tells me they may not pursue him as hard as some other names.

Another name which has popped up is Christian Harrison of Greensboro Day.  Harrison grew up a Duke fan and of course says he would accept an offer on the spot.  He’s a nice late bloomer in the rankings but has very thin shoulder width which needs a lot of added muscle.  He can finish very well and is a smooth player but hangs outside a bit too much for my tastes.  His second game was his worst and his defense was awful at times in that game.  He wasn’t playing help D or using his length a lot.  His third game would have one drooling and he played much better after motivational speeches.  I would have to get more views on him to get a real feel.  We will have an interview up soon with him.

The Nike Jordan-Brand Classic is on my agenda where I will see Rasheed Sulaimon play and hopefully one or two more future Blue Devils.  The even on April 14th will allow us to know where Tony Parker and Shabazz Muhammad are going.  There are a slew of UNC and N.C. State guys playing in the event, a game of local North Carolina ballers and an International game.  continues to work Duke prospects as does his future teammate Matt Jones.

The Nike EYBL season starts in April as well and it gets underway with session I  in Minnesota on April 20-22 and then session II in Hampton, Virginia the following weekend.  The event is loaded with Duke prospects and among them are Chicago studs, Jabari Parker, the top rated player in the class of 2013 and Jahill Okafor, the paint eater and key Blue Devil target as well.  Both will suit up for the Mac Irwin Fire again and Parker has been the Blue Devils top target for a long time and as I have said for a year or so now, I feel Duke is in great shape with  him.  Then there is the Texas Titan duo of Matt Jones a shooting guard who has already pledged to Duke and his teammate, the bullish post man, Julius Randle.  If Duke misses on bigs this year, their need for Randle will be dire.  Duke is in good shape and will surely make his final cut and he is right there with Jabari Parker as the most important prospects they will work before Olympic duties.  But rest easy for Duke Assistant Jeff Capel is the lead recruiter for him and that bodes well.    Then there are the two PG prospects, Anthony Barber 2013 and Tyus Jones 2014.    Long time members know I rave when speaking of Jones and I will finally get more views of Barber.  Both are legitimate standouts but Jones to me is special and a winner.  But Jones has the nation after him and he will be a tough get.  Duke will also have their eyes open for other players and by the end of April we should have some new names popping up.  Other names to watch are big man Bee Jay Anya and Theo Pinson to name a few.

By all accounts, Ryan Kelly is healing nicely and he should have plenty of time to have his game together before the season starts.  Duke players had a lot of nagging injuries by seasons end but the Blue Devils do not broadcast them until later and maybe no even then.  Coach Krzyzewski has never been one to share too much in the past.  But it was certainly evident that the loss of Kelly effected the team concept and in hindsight, Kelly added a lot of value to the team.

The take on Amile Jefferson in interesting.  Talk to the NCSU types and they are majorly confident he comes.  Their spin is he is waiting to see what C.J Leslie does, well, I will tell you that he is going pro.  Jefferson has a great relationship with the Wolfpack staff but I feel his heart is with Duke.  I though his decision may be tied in with the McDonald’s game but it seems he will watch what happens with team rosters as well as others now.  Jefferson is a nice young man who is likely having trouble telling certain teams no.  Villanova continues to make the hometown push and they are still hovering about but it is down to the ACC schools and I still feel Duke is in the best shape to get his services.  But it’s recruiting, so who knows 100% sure what might happen.

So, we are all waiting to watch the McDonald’s All American game this evening and to see how things shake out for Duke Basketball.  You have heard me say the following on numerous occasions but it applies more than ever to current situations.  Let it play out.  Freaking out and over speculation is a waste of ones energy.  Watch what prospects do and not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

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Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

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The Duke Blue Devils entertained two key prospect this past weekend when Shabazz Muhammad and Amile Jefferson came to town for the Duke-North Carolina game.  Jefferson will make a decision this coming week and we discuss the latest on both the recruiting trail and team in our latest update for Blue Devil Nation Premium Members.  Patrick Cacchio has been talking to key football prospects as well and you can read those articles as well but becoming a member.  And with AAU season coming up this is the perfect time to become a paying member where you will get all the inside scoop from the most active staff on the grass roots circuit.