(We have now made this a public video) I had the pleasure of talking with ESPN's Jason Jordan about Duke Basketball Recruting during the recent Holiday Invitational in Raleigh. I got Jordan's thoughts on Julius Randle, the latest on Tony Parker, Theo Pinson, Jaquell Richmond and Tyus Jones and more in this exclusive BDN Video for our premium members.
Rasheed Sulamion will visit Cameron Indoor Stadium today where he'll take in the tonight's Duke versus Western Michigan game. Also attending the game with Rasheed will be his father and brother. Sulaimon played in the Holiday Invitational in Raleigh where he scored 21 points leading his Strake Jesuit to win and they'll head back to Texas having won one of three games. For the record, Sulaimon was playing with a virus but soldiered through and led his team in scoring. BDN Premium has this exclusive 1 on 1 interview with Sulaimon where he shares some interesting facts, including his game of horse with Matt Jones, another soon to be Blue Devil. [private]
Next up, well, you'll just have to wait and see. Thanks for being a BDN Premium member. [/private]
One of the more well known recruiting evaluators, Brick Oettinger took time to talk with BDN Premium about Duke prospects Theo Pinson and Jaquel Richmond. Oettinger is the long time recruiting columnist for the ACC Sports Journal, formerly known as the Poop Sheet and he is the evaluator for Prep Stars as well. If you are looking for meticulous notes, he's your man. Pinson and Richmond, super sophs, combined for 34 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists nd 8 steals leading their Wesleyan to a 69-54 win. Here is the video with Brick, an exclusive for BDN Premium [private] members -
There is a new name on the Duke radar and his name is Ricardo Gathers, a manly 6-7 presence in the post who hails from Louisiana where he plays for Riverside Academy. Gathers, who was set to go to St. John's but backed out of his verbal commitment and reopened the process. A couple of big name schools are now on him and Gathers tells us about that and much more in this one on one interview conducted by BDN correspondent Travis Boyd. And when asked of Duke, Gathers made it no secret that he hold immense respect for the program and that he is ... well, it all lies ahead. Remember, we are still running a 20% off special on a yearly membership to Blue Devil Nation Premium, where all the latest inside information awaits you as does our members only message board to discuss the latest. Just sign up for a year and we'll send you 20 bucks back through paypal. Isn't it time to see BDN Premium for yourself and see what others are talking about?
Suppose somebody had never seen you play before. How would you describe your game in your own words?
Very physical, a lock down on D. I'm a rebounding factor and I like playing with my teammates man and as I go, I know they go, so ...
What are you looking for in a program. What are some of the most important factors?
I want to play with somebody that is a winner and a coach who brings out the best in me and communicates with me and make me a better player.
What's your list of schools right now?
Baylor, Duke, N.C. State, Florida, LSU, St. Johns and USC and Cal.
Which schools or who has been the most aggressive in your recruitment of late? [private]
Billy Donovan of Florida and Duke.
Who have you talked to from Duke?
Um, I don't want to get his name wrong (smiling) Wojichowski ... I'm not sure how to say his name.
Yeah, yeah, that's him.
So what do you like about Duke?
I mean, Duke you know, the tradition at Duke (upbeat) and they've developed many players at my position and they have one of the best coaches in America and the history in college basketball ... I mean, whats not to like about Duke?
So, do you sit down and take a look at the rosters of the teams recruiting you and look at say who is coming, leaving and such?
I definitely looking at the roster because I don;t want to go nowhere where I'm sitting for four years and stuff so, (smiling) yeah, I'm looking and analyzing what they need and find the best place for me.
Do you pattern your game after any player in the NBA or college?
(Pause) Uhm, no, not really. At this point I'm just mold myself to be my on type of player. I'm just trying to keep it together and keep working and be the best Ricardo Gathers that I can be.
With this being your senior year, what part of your game will you work on the rest of the year?
Being more efficient at both ends of the court. I mean yesterday, I couldn't always go all out on the offensive end because I knew I had to bring it on D. So that is definitely is what I am going to do and work on conditioning,
Do you have any visits set up in the near future?
I'm probably going to take a few visits in the upcoming year, like January or February. Probably mid January is when I will start some visits. I am going to definitely go down to Florida soon, Duke and N.C. State.
What position do you see yourself playing at the next level?
Most likely the 4 and the 3.
And who will help you make your decision when it comes time to pick a school?
The Holiday season is upon us and that means Duke Basketball plays just a couple of December games, but make no mistake, it is still a busy time. The Duke Men's Basketball staff will put in their frequent flyer miles and burn a little rubber as they hit the recruiting trail and BDN Premium brings you an update on the latest news.
Coach Krzyzewski and assistant coach Jeff Capel will be in Dallas, Texas today to watch Julius Randle, the nations #2 ranked player in the class of 2012. Duke will also see (1271 word update ahead for BDN Premium members) [private] Matt Jones, the shooting guard who just pledged to the Blue Devils. There is no mistaking the fact that Duke hopes Jones will help recruit the banging horse, Randle. And Rasheed Sulaimon may help there as well. As I have said in past updates, the Blue Devils covet Randle and think they can get him and Jabari Parker and that would be just magical for the fan base.
Speaking of Jabari Parker, the top rated player in his class that is now being compared to Kobe Bryant by some, the staff will watch him in Fayetteville this weekend. I have long maintained that I feel Duke is in incredibly good shape here and that they were in on Parker very early and have developed great relationships with the family. Duke will also take in the Beach Ball Classis in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they'll see him again at the end of this month. Parker will have his parents in tow this weekend and probably Myrtle Beach as well.
And speaking of the the Beach Ball Classic, one of two top recruits left for this season at this time, Tony Parker will be there. Duke continues to get good vibes from his camp, especially his parents who I have said for a long time now favor Duke. Parker is a stressful prospect for Duke fans in that the Blue Devils really need him and or have a place for him. I was the first to tell you that the December date was sketchy and that you cannot really go on what Parker says he'll do. And that means the old line, don't listen to what he says, but watch what he does. Parker is enjoying the process, a bit too much for most Duke fans taste for it makes little sense he would choose any situation but Duke for numerous reasons. Of course, they have on royal blue glasses as well but even the objective observer sees the best spot for him is in Durham. I still think he will end upo taking this until summer - late summer, so try and keep your composure and not go bad mouthing him in forums which could possibly damage the teams efforts.
We cannot leave out the top rated player in this seasons class, Shabazz Muhammad who will also be in Myrtle Beach. UCLA, once considered a strong leader is now third in my opinion and as I said a bit back, it will come down to Duke and Kentucky. His decision could hinge on Austin Rivers decision to go pro or stay at Duke, so this one as I have said all along will go to the podium the last day or so of the signing period in late summer. And it doesn't hurt to dream and think that both Parker and Bazz might choose Duke taking all of the build up stress away and making us all five years younger in the process. Muhammad could really flourish in the Duke system where I feel he would be more of a go-to guy than he would be at Kentucky.
Another Chicago are kid has caught the Blue Devils eye as well. Jalhill Okafor is a bruising type in the class of 2014 and stands 6-10 and weighs in at 280. Duke has mad in roads with him and they'll see him this weekend along with Jabari Parker. I am looking forward to reporting on his game as I focus in on him solely for the first time. He plays AAU ball for the Mac Irwin Fire and they at times have so many good players, that it is hard to focus in on one early in the circuit season.
Two players that will play at the former Glaxo event in Raleigh will be Rasheed Sulaimon, already signed with Duke and young Theo Pinson. Sulaimon will thrill the crowd for sure with his water bug like movement. He glides around the court with high energy and his on ball defense is much improved, making me think he can be a stopper at Duke. Our diary session kind of imploded due to his schedule, but he has said he will pick it up soon. Pinson is another 2014 kid that liked Duke growing up. He is an interesting wing that still seems to be growing at 6-5 and will likely be a small forward type in college, but he has good guard skills as well and like all Duke prospects, he has great character. Okay, I know what you are thinking about that statement, but be nice as I said up top, LOL.
The City of Palms, Texas, Vegas .... the Blue Devils staff will be seeing a lot of kids this month. Some of those will be individual visits to the likes of Tyus Jones and Austin Nichols. The Blue Devils fell in love with Jones last year and I had already been there in that he always stood out to me. During my last interview with Jones, I came away very impressed at his grounded maturity which is far ahead of his years. And that kind of maturity is what you seek in a point guard. Duke will be on this kid hard as will everybody else int he nation, but early returns are that he likes Coach K and Duke a lot. Austin Nichols is a 6-8 slender forward approaching 200 pounds that the Devils staff will check out individually. A lot of SEC schools are on the Tennessee native and a few from the Big East along with Butler. Nichols caught the Blue Devils eye but it is early on this one, so we'll call it an on going evaluation.
On the team front, Coach K is very pleased with the 9-1 start to the season and the staff will take measures to try an assure there is no burnout from the added stress of the China trip. There are a few nagging injuries (nothing major) but I only speak of them when announced and the team rarely does this. The staff will be watching a lot of film, so expect a few new wrinkles as the new year moves in. As I said, the plan is to redshirt Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee and this will be a good thing down the road for these will be seasoned and mature freshman. And yes, I played a bit of a game in mentioning lineup changes the other week and many got a chuckle out of other sites running with it in public. It pays to know Duke Basketball, wink-wink and to be a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium. Thanks for being a member guys and let's go Duke!
Talk about this article on the Blue Devil Nation Premium Message Board, a part of your membership package and please do not share, copy and past this information per user agreement. There will be more news to follow in an addendum I will add to this update and we'll be on prospect hard. This is where you will get an idea of what Blue Devil Nation Premium is all about. [/private]
It's time for another Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting update and with that said, onto the latest happenings around the program. Many of you have asked what's the deal with [private] Alex Murphy. Well, Duke plans to redshirt him along with Marshall Plumlee but both could play if there were significant injuries. This will push Josh Hairston into a larger role and it definitely shortens the bench but the Blue Devils feel Michael Gbinije is starting to come along and they can afford to do this. The Blue Devils do not want to wast a year on Plumlee and Murphy and this of course gives them a three man class with the aforementioned joining Rasheed Sulaimon. The staff loves that Murphy and Plumlee are getting accustomed to the Duke system and both have made strides in practice. The decision on Murphy had little to do with the concussion and more to do with how much burn the guys would actually get this year.
Everybody wants to know what's up with Tony Parker and only he knows. The feeling is that he will not choose a school in December as he said he would. The feeling is it will go on for a while despite the parents wanting him in Durham. There is no way of telling what Parker thought of the loss to Ohio State, a school high on his list but surely he can see that there is a major spot available at Duke.
The Blue Devils coaches will be out and about in the next few days and we'll add more to this update when the visits are finalized. You can bet that Julius Randle and Jabari Parker are high on the list as is Jahill Okafor. I still feel the Blue Devils lead for the top player in the class in Parker and they are turning up the heat with Parker in limbo with Randle and other post players I will mention later.
The Blue Devil made the call to Matt Jones who recently signed and sort of prodded him along. Jones has known Duke was his team of choice and it was time to pull the trigger. The Blue Devils got a shooter like Dawkins, but Jones has a more rounded game. Jones, like Sulaimon, will start to recruit for Duke as well and the Blue Devils think both players can and will play together. Sulaimon is a much better on ball defender and has the potential to be one of the best in a while at Duke. The Blue Devils love the energy he brings when on the court.
With the exception of Mason Plumlee and Austin Rivers, all spots are open and the hungriest players will earn burn against Colorado State. Yes, Kelly, Dawkins, Curry and Thornton were all in the dog house on Tuesday and a message was sent to those guys to step it up. All of them looked tentative and at times played on their heels against Ohio State. The loss gives Coach K a great teaching opportunity and he will take advantage of it by fine tuning his team, so look for some serious effort in the next few games.
Despite the loss, the staff likes what this team has done and one bad loss will not take away from that. Mind you, nobody is happy with the blowout but the season is long. I expect Quinn Cook and Michael Gbinije to get more burn but neither really impressed in extended minutes during the loss in Columbus. Duke also wants to find a way to get senior Miles Plumlee going and he has had a mildly disappointing season to date. The Blue Devils will really need him when his brother Mason gets in foul trouble as the season goes on. The word is Miles plays good in practice but spaces a bit when in a real game, seemingly not being ready for the ball or to react when it is needed.
Coach K will be honored by Sports Illustrated as the Sportsman of the Year, a great honor. We'll add an addendum to this update shortly on who the Blue Devils will visit. [/private]