Duke has a visit from 5-Star shooting guard Joey Baker this weekend and he left campus with an offer. The 2019 rising star plays high school hoops for Trinity Christian Academy in Fayetteville, N.C.
Baker is already a productive player at his age, meaning he will only get better as he matures. At 6-7 he can shoot over smaller defenders via the pull up jumper or he can launch the three point shot with the best of them.
He understands spacing at an early age and how to maintain good motion on the offensive end. He is considered the best player in the state of North Carolina in his class and is a consensus 5 star rated player in national rankings.
The nation's top prospect in the class of 2018 will venture to Duke this weekend for his official visit. R.J. Barrett is the real deal! The young man is making a name for himself and his nation of Canada proud along the way.
R.J. Barrett led his Canadian National Team to a win over Team USA and in the process earned a gold medal this summer. He is a can't miss NBA talent who plays his high school basketball for Montverde Academy in Florida.
The big time prospect will be seeing the Duke campus and facilities for the first time this weekend. During his visit, he will likely get to see this years team as well and perhaps play some pick up with them.
The Blue Devils have zeroed in on Barrett as have other schools. He has already visited Kentucky and will take three other schools in Arizona, Michigan and Oregon after his time in Durham.
There will be plenty of playing time a year from now for the Blue Devils in that a mass exodus of players are expected to declare for the NBA Draft. Duke could conceivably lose their entire starting line up and more after this coming season.
But the Blue Devils reload quickly these days. They've already gained the services of point guard Tre Jones and the multi talented Cameron Reddish. And it is no secret that those guys are trying to get others to play beside them for another run at a title.
Barrett is all the rage in that he is the latest Canadian star to gain big time hype. In fact, most feel he will be the best player from the country which is producing more and more top-tier players yet.
If you are wondering about how this young man would fit into the Duke system, let us count the ways. Barrett knocked down 38 points in his Canadian National Teams win over a loaded Team USA. He was playing against a talented and older team when he did so.
Quite simply, R.J. Barrett is a scoring machine. He blows by defenders or can go over them for his perimeter shot. Barrett also finishes well on the offensive end which is a tribute to his athletic ability. His length should allow him to be a solid defender at the next two levels of play. He is capable of guarding multiple positions already and moves well on the court when off ball.
The addition of R.J. Barrett would give Duke one of the most versatile teams in the nation. He would also benefit from playing with a stellar point guard on Tre Jones, who is a proven winner and unselfish as was his brother who won a national title at Duke.
It will likely come down to a Fall decision for Barrett and his family who are methodically analyzing their options. We will likely know by November or possibly sooner, where this talented young man will play his collegiate career.
Duke has been on a roll in recruiting where they individually structure plans for players to get to the pro game or expand their education. The Blue Devils put another four players into the NBA this past season and next year there could be more than that.
With that kind of pedigree and to play for a coach who led the USA men's national team to three gold medals, it is a small wonder that Duke is having great success. Barrett would be a nice fit for the program and Blue Devil fans would certainly enjoy seeing him bring fans to their feet in Cameron.
Duke got their second commitment from a stud basketball prospect for the 2018-19 season when Cameron Reddish announced his intent to be a Blue Devil.
"I'm going somewhere that I can be challenged as a leader, challenged as a student, challenged to grow up, on and off the court," Reddish said and then continued "And that's why I'll be attending Duke University."
The young phenom made his choice known via The Player Tribune. You can read what Reddish had to say by CLICKING THIS LINK.
Reddish joins Tre Jones as the start of yet another stellar class to be for hall of fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. After some celebration Duke will turn its attention to several other key prospects.
A five-star prospect, Reddish averaged 22.6 points and 7.8 rebounds a game for Team Final which played in the very competitive Nike EYBL circuit this past summer. Reddish stands 6-8 but could get taller and weighs around 195 pounds while playing the small forward position.
Like many Duke players to be, Reddish played a big role for USA Basketball where he most recently participated in the FIBA World Cup. Reddish was fourth on a stacked team in scoring with 10.7 points a game for a talented team.
Duke is getting a small forward with long arms who can disrupt passing lanes with his length. He is quick off his feet and a very adept scorer. He loves being an on ball defender and is working on being more consistent. His favorite NBA player is Kevin Durant and he likes to play NBA2K with his little brother. He is considered a can't miss prospect who will one day play in the NBA.
Standing in at a long 6-6, wing standout Nassir Little is garnering monster attention on the recruiting trail. Little is a part of the Class of 2018 who plays for Orlando Christian Prep and his game is standing out on the circuit. He is a consensus top 30 player in the country who is multi talented and has his eyes on the NBA one day.
What you see when scouting Little is energy and effort. He is strong for a wing and can hit the glass and finish over smaller defenders. He has a high motor and good body control but still needs to polish up his game.
Duke is showing interest in Little and he is returning that.
Nassir, you are blowing up. Some people are calling you the most recruited player in the country. Is that true? And if so, describe the process at the moment.
I do think that. That I am the most recruited player in the country at this time and it is a good problem to have.
You have had a lot of schools show interest in you for a long time now. Among those are Miami, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Florida and Arizona. Are they the leaders in your recruitment?
Ummm, there a lot of schools that have been there for a long time with me, but I cannot state that they are the forerunners right now. The process is still open with other schools coming in.
Describe your game in your own words or give me a scouting report on yourself.
I think I am a very versatile player with good skills...a good rebounder, good defender and good shooter with high energy. That is what everybody seems to like about my game. I think I'm coachable as well with good conditioning.
Who in your circle will help you make your ultimate collegiate decision on where to play basketball?
My parents and my AAU coach.
I understand a lot of other schools are getting into the mix. Have any other schools been calling you of late?
Duke, North Carolina, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon, Ohio State, just a lot of new schools as well.
You mentioned Duke. What do you think about them?
Coach (Nate) James called me. Duke has been on me pretty hard as of late. They have been feeling me out getting to know me and guaging my interest. They're trying to show that they have interest and are making sure I know. They think I am a versatile wing and they are looking for one in this class. I have watched and like some of the players who've played there.
Does it hurt that they are getting in later than the other schools on your list?
So, you are still pretty much wide open right now...
Yes sir, I am.
Any visits planned?
Not really just yet, but Georgia Tech soon.
Josh Pastner has been on you pretty hard. What do you think about their school?
I like them a lot and are familiar with them. They've let me now that they will continue to make a really strong effort towards me, They want me to be the centerpiece of their class.
Are there any players on the circuit you would like to play with or does it matter?
There are some good point guards out there. It is important to play with some good point guards. (He mentioned two, but the names were inaudible due to static.)
What are you looking for in a coach and in a school?
In a coach, somebody who that when they are dealing with me are honest who will not pump you up too much in the good times but who will in the rough times lift you up. As for a college...a school with good academics and a program that likes to get out in transition.
A guy or your talent likely had so little downtime away from basketball. But when you do, what do you do with it?
I watch TV and play video games. I play the piano.
Yeah, a lot of people don't know about that but I am pretty musically inclined. I play the saxophone as well. I get that from my Dad, he played so I picked it up.
Where did you learn the game of basketball from?
Just..it just kind of cam so nowhere in particular. When I was growing up, I just balled when I could. I liked the game but my parents never pushed it on me. They have allowed me to make my own choices.
Well, I know you are thankful to have parents like that. So, where would you like to see yourself in three or four years?
In the NBA. No doubt.
Is it important that you go to a school with success of getting players to the pros?
It is not the main thing I am looking for but it is a good thing, so...
So, just to recap...you are still very open in the process and listening to a lot of schools. Is that correct?
Well I appreciate your time and wish you luck in your endeavors.
Note - He had some more to say that was hard to decipher from phone static about Duke. It is clear that he is open to them and this kid is a big time talent and a solid young man to boot. Stay tuned.
While his Nike Phamily team struggled as they opened up the Nike EY BL season, Marvin Bagley III put up his usual stellar numbers. There are times when he does difficult things effortlessly on the court and that has the prospect ranked in the top five by every service.
Bagley would average 25,5 ppg and grab just under 15 rebounds per contest. There was little help from his teammates where there is not another double figure scorer on the team. That meant a 0-4 record and the strong possibility that his team will not make it to the Peach Jam come July.
The talented young man also averaged 2 steals per contests to go with 3 blocks a game. The aforementioned stats show that he is a monstrously talented young player who will in tine flourish at every level.
Bagley plays under the watchful eye of his father who critiques him and strives to keep him level-headed. A season ago, he would be in on every question and answer session but this year Bagley III is handling the situations on his own.
I caught up to the sure fire star to be during this past weekends NYBL session in Hampton, Virginia. Here is what he had to say -
How can you help your team turn things around after a slow start to the season?
We just have to play better, man. We came out slow like it was going to be easy as if every game was going to go our way. If we are going to make it far in this thing, we can't play like that. We are working too hard right now to play like we are just cruising through and it is not going to be handed to us. We have got to come out ready and instead be ready too hit somebody else in their mouth instead of them doing it to us,
What do you personally want to improve upon the most the rest of the NYBL season?
I want to be a leader. That's on thing I am focussing on. I am working on everything, but one thing is being a leader. So with the losses, I put it on my back and have to find a way to communicate better. We'll get it straight. I'm really excited about the future and we have got a long way to go. We have to get over this hump and play better.
Are you training with anybody...like beyond you Dad when you have some little down time front his?
I work out with my Dad and a man named Earl Ramsey. So I work on my body with sit ups and stuff and the game itself.
Everybody is coming after you college wise. Who are some of the teams which are most aggressive with their contact?
You know, I can't really tell you right now. Right now I am just focussed on winning games but when it gets down to the end of the year I will know more. After that, I will figure everything out.
Have you discussed with your Dad when you will get a little more serious on that or do you kind of leave some of the communication up to him?
Yeah, I mean we are worried about the same thing so we are on the same page there. But he is talking to some coaches. We'll sit down and talk about it more as things move along.
Do you think you'll take the route of using all five of your official visits?
I don't know, I really don't know. I have visited some schools unofficially already but there are some schools I have not looked at so they might get an official visit.
Which schools have you visited already?
I visited UCLA, USC, Arizona, Duke and I have got to visit Kentucky and Kansas.
A lot of my readers are from the southeast. What do you think of Duke and Kentucky. What do you think about Duke first?
Duke is a great program. I mean when you mention Duke everybody knows the great history and about Coach K and he has had a lot of great players come through that program. Duke is a great place, it pretty much speaks for itself.
Have they talked to you or your Dad...I mean what is their message to you?
They tell me to just play my game and they'll put me into a position to do what I do best.
What about Kentucky?
Same thing. It's a lot of success when you speak about Kentucky and Coach Cal, Davis and all the great players that have come through Kentucky and are in the league right now, so thee is a lot of success and that is a good place.
Those two schools have the most players in the NBA right now. Is that an advantage for them to have had success in getting guys into the league, especially with the way they work with one and done players of late?
It is a plus. You know, the competition they play at and getting to the tournament and the atmosphere...I went to Cameron Indoor and the atmosphere when I went there was great and I want to be a part of something like that. So, whenever I sit down with my parents and figure out where I want to go, I want to be a part of something with atmosphere like that.
You guys are west coast folks, so what about location or would it be an advantage to stay west or close to home like at Arizona?
I will go wherever I can get better and to a place that can get me to where I want to be in the long run. So wherever that may be, east coast or west coast.
What are some of the things that help you stay grounded in life. I am sure everybody wants to come at you from hanger ons to girls and such. I see a guy just came up to you with a folder full of pictures seeking autographs and your Dad had to intervene after you signed one.
I keep my circle small with people who have been there with me from day one. My circle has gotten a bit smaller and so I am careful not to let too many people come in. So, I am just a quiet guy who lets his game speak for itself.
Quiet and laid back...can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Off the court I just like to play a little and work out, I am just a regular kid who hangs out with his teammates on the road and classmates when at home. I just like to have a little fun.
That is really all you have time for. I mean you ball pretty much year round. Will you be going to the same high school this year or do you know?
Umm, as of right now I am but you never know what might happen in the future.
Obviously, you are looking to get to the NBA. That means you will be a one and done like kid, everyone is labeling you for that. And you're okay with that, right?
Yeah I mean, whatever helps me to ge where I want to be. I can't look too far ahead though and get caught up with what some say I am as a player. Some days they say I am number one other days I am top 100 so... Rankings don't make you who you are. No matter what people say, I know how hard I work and what kind of person I am and give it everything I have.
You seem like you have matured a lot on and off the court since last season. Would you say that it true?
Yeah, man. I have been hanging around older kids my whole life and always playing up in age groups. So I am learning a lot on how to be a leader and it's working out for me. I just try to sit back and learn what I can along the way.
So, there is no animosity or the feeling you have lost some childhood along the way?
No, you know I understand it is sometimes a sacrifice. You have to sacrifice a lot when you want to be good.
So, you are focussed on the big goal?
Yeah. you gotta put away some things that other kids do, but that's the way it is.
Bagley is consistently ranked in the top three players in the country which rotates. He is clearly one of the four best players I have seen play and that list includes Cameron Reddish. Romeo Langford and Zion Williamson
He is a very well spoken young man where his answers float off his tongue with sincerity. He is upbeat off the court and clearly grounded mentally for his age.
I will have more comments from his Dad at a later date.
Coach Krzyzewski watched his entire game on Saturday and it is clear that despite what some are reporting that he is on the radar.
It is clear that he is one and done and that his decision will come about in a slow manner, but he said good things about Duke with me not exactly pulling it out from him.
His teammates stand around too much waiting to see what Marvin does per his father who films his son a lot while actively coaching him from near the bench. His mom is always very close by as well.
No player in the country has been playing better basketball than Justise Winslow of late and the hot prospect definitely benefitted from his recent play with Team USA. During the Nike Peach Jam, Winslow showed off his skills set and now sports as complete a game as any prospect on the Nike EYBL circuit. In short, Winslow has very few weaknesses.
The Texan can take you off the dribble, post up smaller and larger players, crash the boards, step back for a smooth mid range jump shot or nail the three on offense alone. And did I mention he brings the ball up court like a point guard and can hit the open man with his passes. And Winslow can defend as well, having the ability to guard up to four positions if needed.
It doesn't take long to appreciate Winslows on the court exploits, but he's just as impressive off the court where he fires back answers that are clear and concise to reporters, many of whom seem in awe at how articulate his retorts can be. Winslow after all, goes to one of the top schools in Houston and as you will see in the following interview, he is a competitor in the class room just as he is on the hardwood.
I've seen Winslow play in well over twenty games on the AAU circuit and what you look for over the years is for a player improve and Winslow is flat-out playing his best basketball ever and in my eyes is a top ten player in his class. Which ever team gains his services at the collegiate level will get a solid citizen and as good a wing as one could want.
Check out the latest on Justise Winslow with our interview where we discuss the schools on his list, his timeline, Team USA Basketball and more.
I know Arizona, Duke and other schools have been on you hard, but what it your current list of schools? [private]
Well, right now I'm still at ten schools and there are no leaders or anything like that. North Carolina, Duke Florida, Texas A & M, Baylor, Houston, Arizona and Stanford. And there are some new schools trying to talk to me like UCLA, Indiana and Michigan.
Yeah, I don't know when I will sign for sure but want to do so by November. I just want to make sure I am signed by then.
Coming back from playing with Team USA overseas has to be tough on the body. You didn't have long to prep for the Peach Jam.
Yeah, it was tough and that's why I sat out the first game of the Peach Jam. I learned a lot by the experience and I'm just looking to take all the knowledge gained and just look forward to try to display it out here and be the best I can be. It was tough adjusting to the time zone again but that's no excuse. I've got to know my body and do what's best for it. So, yes, it was tough and I'm adjusting.
Can you talk of your experience?
It's just a big difference playing with those guys because most of them have been to college other than the three of us, so the speed of the game and they're just stronger and bigger I got a lot out of the practices and the coaches helped me understand the game and how to defend ball screens off the ball. It was a great time.
At this point in the process are you starting to feel the pressure knowing a decision is looming? You have all these coaches looking at you and probably texting you before you get off the court. Are you feeling the pressure.
I was feeling the pressure at first but my family told ,e to just forget about it and play basketball. One day it will come to me where I want to go to school and ,y family told me not to force it but just go out and be a kid and have fun.
Who will play important roles in your final decision. Your parents? I know you're close to your brother as well ...
Yeah. Just my immediate family. My coaches will play a little part, but mainly my family.
I know you've been asked of a package deal with Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor ...
I don't know how big of a factor, but it is a factor and being able to go to school with those guys and make that program elite. I want to go to school with them but all three of us have to do what is best for our families. If it happens that all three of us go to school together, that would be the best. So, I'm really excited and if it does hold up, I will be very happy.
And which teams were all three of you considering from your list?
I think Baylor, Duke, Kansas. I think that's it.
What is it like playing in front of all the major college coaches?
Umm. You know it's kind of exciting at first but you just have to be yourself. You can't go out there and just try to please those coaches but be yourself.
What are your plans moving forward?
I may take time off and the last event will be Orlando for me.
Will you take some time off in the near future?
Yes, definitely a time. I wish I had more time to spend with my family and relax at home but my team needed me, so I thought taking off the first game in North August was the best thing I could do for my body. In August or September I will keep working on my game and will take some time then for my family.
I know your family is big on education. Have you thought about what you might take in school?
I like math and physics so numbers are my thing. So, maybe something in business or engineering. My family is really big on academics and I go to one of the top schools in Houston. So, I pride myself on that ... being a competitor on the court and in the class room I think I do a lot of things good and some things great, but I think my versatility and all around game is what upgrades me from other guys. [/private]