Don’t look for Wall to trim his list today, but [private] Friday and Monday are possibilities, as is any other day in the future. There are many complexities which make up the battle for Wall. And it remains to be seen if World Wide Wes can swoop in at the last minute and work his magic. Make no mistake, he will likely make a play on the Wall Camp during the midnight hour.
On the other hand, Wall’s Mom continues to side with the Blue Devils and some feel Brian Clifton wants him to stick close to home as well. But before anything can happen, John needs to pass his SAT’s. He will make his first attempt on Saturday, but there are many who feel it may take another try before it’s done, according to sources I have within the school. If Wall does not pass his SAT, he would forgo college and the options available are many. Keep in mind that he has three opportunities to pass before the school year begins.
Still, if Wall can pass, Duke will remain in the race with Kentucky and a school or two which will likely make his final list. I told you long ago that it would come down to Duke and Kentucky and while that could change, I have no reason to think it will. As for a timeline on a decision, I will stick with what I told you a few weeks back in that this one could drag out until May 20th at the latest. IOW, I am certain it will go into May.
As for Wall’s meeting with Krzyzewski, nothing is etched in stone as I type, but that could change within hours. Duke still wants a face to face where Coach K will get to chat with Wall one more time before a decision is made.
I told you on the message board that Bledsoe had passed his ACT and that he would visit Memphis and Kentucky on Saturday. There is nothing set up with Duke at this time, but Bledsoe remains interested and the staff is following this situation with Nate James as the lead recruiter. I have said for the past few weeks that Bledsoe is a long shot, and I stick by that.
I told you a while back that UNC got in the Harrison Barnes sweepstakes and that they have an unofficial visit scheduled with him in June after the NBA Player Developmental Camp. That seemed like bad news at the time, but the Heels have a lot of catching up to do. Barnes is telling everyone his recruitment is wide open, but if we allow some patience, this could be a similar situation to Kyle Singler’s. Singler was thought to favor Duke all along, but he waited until the end for the decision, which put a lot of Duke fans on pins and needles. I don’t look for Barnes to verbal anytime soon. Oh yeah! The good news is that, not to be outdone, Coach K and the Duke staff “may” get an unofficial visit the same weekend Harrison heads to Chapel Hill for the first time. This would make the third visit to Duke for Barnes.
There are no other unofficial visits set up at this time. (I had to edit this for the nature is sensitive)
A busy July ahead for the staff
Duke will not be able to hit the road until July which gives them a much smaller window than in years past due to NCAA rules changes. Until then, they will study what they hear and by August, we will have a good idea as to who is really on the radar.
We will be mapping out the rest of our spring and summer schedule shortly, but rest assured we’ll be represented at the tournaments that count. There will be no drop-off in our coverage of the nation’s best prospects.
One last note. There are some things involving the John Wall recruitment where I am sworn to silence. I must respect the wishes of my sources on this, but promise to keep you more than just a little aware of what is going on. Thanks for being a member of the Blue Devil Nation. The best is yet to come. [/private]
Before we get to the latest recruiting information, let me tell you what’s coming to Blue Devil Nation Premium this week. We’ll have an informative interview with Harrison Barnes and comments from one of his AAU coaches. BDN’s Andrew Slater was on the scene at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest. Slater will have the latest, including interviews with Kyrie Irving, Ray McCallum and more. Both of us will offer scouting reports on prospects we see firsthand this week as well. Then there is some hot information on visits, but you have to be a member to see that.
Here is the latest on the recruiting trail from BDN, a source you can trust. [private] Duke is very high on Kyrie Irving and that’s why Andrew was scoping him out this weekend. Irving is moving up the ratings as I type and he has already listed the Blue Devils on his list of ten schools. Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins will visit Irving this week and there may be an unofficial visit in the future – we’ll keep you posted on that.
Another guard prospect Slater interviewed this weekend is Ray McCallum. This youngster has a lot of schools on him and if you have read our past update you have a good idea of his capabilities. It’s no secret that Duke is now going after athletic guards and the staff is determined to get one or two in the fold in the class of 2010. Coach Collins will also take time to visit McCallum this week, so make no mistake in that Duke is very active on the recruiting trail.
BDN’s best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Steve Wojciechowski who recently tore his ACL. The injury will cause Wojo to be on the mend and off the recruiting road show for a good while. This means that head of basketball operations, Chris Spatola will take his place. Spatola will be looking at some of the states younger players and will check out some action in Virginia as well.
Don’t freak out that Chris Carrawell wasn’t the choice, for he is a notch behind Spatola in the chain of command. Both will one day be assistant coaches. CWell will once again participate in the James-Carawell, where donations from Duke fans helped me send three underprivileged kids that I work with to the camp last season.
Everybody keeps asking on the message board whether Duke still has interest in Eric Bledsoe. Well, the answer is yes, despite the fact that another site says he has a final four which does not include Duke. In fact, Duke Assistant Coach, Nate James will be heading south to visit Bledsoe this week as well as some young prospects. Either James or Spatola will visit Luke Cothron, likely James.
Duke is trying to get a feel for some of the youngsters in the 2011 class so they will know who to track come July when they are allowed to go to camps. Yes, the camp availability is a bit more stringent this year, see the link from the NCAA on the message board if you are curious.
Then there is the continuing recruitment of the talented John Wall. I am going to give you my speculation on what I feel is happening at “the moment.” I feel N.C. State is out despite being listed and that Miami is on the outside looking in as well. I would in no way be shocked if Wall cancels his Miami visit. His visit to Miami is set for this Friday and may last until Sunday. Baylor seems the long shot as well, but of course I am pretty much repeating myself with all of the above. Of late, Wall has added Oregon back.
Kansas has made a push but with their PG returning and the distance, I feel Wall will not be a Jayhawk. Then there is “Dart gun,” Billy Donovan who crept into the Wall home only to fly to Portland to meet with Wall in a motel room. That meeting was set up by Clifton who continues to listen to overtures. Well, Billy has already used that dart gun trick with Kenny Boynton, so he’ll have to reach deeper into the bag of tricks this time. Wait a minute! Kenny Boynton and John Wall in the same back court? One basketball is simply not enough for these two players and neither of them is going to take a backseat. Could this mean that Wall stays in state like Boynton?
I also find it a bit interesting that rivals are doing their best to sway Wall away. Florida comes rolling in when Kentucky becomes a player and North Carolina and Roy Williams would do anything to push Wall anywhere but Durham. Both Florida and North Carolina have got into this race late – too late in my opinion. If you put a gun to my head asking which one of these teams could weasel their way closer, I would go with UNC for the location. Still , no secret that Roy and UNC dissed Wall for the longest time and his camp is not too happy about that.
That brings us to the two real players, this of course being my opinion. Duke is trying to set up a visit with Wall before the contact period is over. The Blue Devils made some major in roads and there are plenty of positives for both Wall and Duke should he end up in Durham. The Duke staff hopes staying close to home and honesty wins out. Of all the Wall suitors, Duke has pretty much backed up what they said and stayed straight up.
Duke could also start quite a pipeline for D-One Sports and Brian Clifton, but then again so could Kentucky. Make no mistake there are some deep pockets in the deep south and they tend to let it be known in one way or another that there are “opportunities,” to be had. That’s as nice as I could put it. Like Duke, Kentucky needs a point guard and Calipari will try to sell Wall that he is a one and done specialist.
If Jodie Meeks comes back, Wall better hope he gets some shots, but UK can sell him better should he remain in the draft. Personally, I don’t see Meeks as a first rounder. I told you a good bit back Patrick Patterson would cast his name and I feel he stays in. I could go into all the prospects who are trying to sell John at various schools but that really isn’t going to make that big of a difference.
Duke has put points in the pro’s in Hurley, Williams and Duhon all first round picks. And Coach K has been straight with Wall in saying he hasn’t really had a point in four or more years. Anyhow, enough rambling opinion, for this recruitment will take a few more twists and turns before Wall decides and you can count on a live announcement on ESPNU or some other network.
Still, at this time Duke is in as good a shape as possible but they will have to fight off Kentucky. Keep in mind, I could be wrong and admittedly, my opinion changes a bit as the wind blows on this one. Lastly, anyone who reads too much into comments in the coming days on Wall is wasting their time. Wall is changing some of his answers from one interview to the next and is obviously enjoying his day in the limelight. Please read our policies on sharing information on the message board. Sharing of information from our premium site is strictly prohibited. [/private]
All you have to do is read the names in the tags of this story to know what’s ahead. If you still can’t figure it out, a lengthy 1800-plus word recruiting update with the very latest information awaits you inside. Don’t miss our one time trial offer to join Blue Devil Nation Premium, for it ends at midnight on Saturday. We think you will decide to stick around when that month is up. [private]
You will want to stay close to the Blue Devil Nation this weekend, for I will cover the Nike Boo Williams Invitational. The event is loaded this year and the four hour drive north will not seem so bad. The reason is that I get to see Harrison Barnes playing for Howard Pulley. For the first time, Barnes will play on the east coast. Well, there is the NBA Player Developmental Camp, but other than that, this is his first time this far east in AAU ball. BDN will be sure to get the latest from Barnes while we are there. I will also talk once again to one of our best recruiters, Andre Dawkins. As I told you a month or so ago, his athletic ability is starting to shine through. He will play for the host Boo Williams team, which will also feature young McAdoo. There is a possibility that Kyrie Irving will be in the house as well, but that has not been finalized yet. Irving sometimes plays for two AAU teams. Irving will also be visiting Duke very, very soon. There are a few other kids (one big name in particular), but I am not going to tip in those other sites until after the fact. Last season, the “borrowers” would send someone who would squirrel in the corner of the gym and watch every move we made. It’s both sad and hilarious that this happens. Anyhow, this site deals in facts and you can trust the names we give you for our sources are pretty darn good. Our members know that new names often come out here and they sure as heck know this site works harder than anyone this time of year. Okay, enough whining and bragging ;) I will have some occasional live updates on the message board.
Speaking of the Blue Devil Nation Premium Message Board… there are both long time members and new trial members who have yet to register. If you are not taking the occasional peek there, you are missing the full effect of BDN Premium. Keep in mind that you must register for the board in that it is not set up automatically upon payment. Also, we’d like to welcome the trial or new members and encourage all of you to post and introduce yourselves. Trust me, most of the members here lurk. That said, there is no better time to start posting than now.
A few of you have asked if Duke has any interest in Deshaun Painter who will not go to Florida. The answer is no. You may have already known that, but you probably don’t know this – Josh Smith is no longer being recruited very hard. The reason is that Duke is concentrating their efforts on players they feel are realistic. Smith has long been rumored to be a UCLA lean and all of my sources have maintained that getting off the west coast is a long shot. Why should the Devils waste all that time with a kid in Washington state whose interest is lukewarm? Yeah, I know. We need a big bruising inside guy. First of all, Duke has not shied away from this type of player, but they have missed on some. The bottom line is getting a kid who can qualify and, for whatever reason, Boozer types have been few and far between in meeting the prerequisites. Duke feels as if their current front court is deep and the addition of Hairston in 2010 will add athleticism. Put Barnes in the mix and Duke is going after guards.
Still no official word on Gerald Henderson, but he will almost certainly go in the draft. The Hendersons in no way blind sided Duke. In fact, they were forthcoming in saying this would likely be the last year before the season started. Still, Henderson wants to go in the lottery and if he slips for some reason, he may well return. Keep in mind that true measurements and such will come into play during visits with NBA teams. Henderson could surely benefit from another year by learning to go to his left. His handle needs some work as well, but his athleticism and lineage makes him attractive. We should hear something on this in an official capacity next week.
Nate James will contact Eric Bledsoe to see if they have indeed been dropped off the final list. Turns out that if he dropped Duke, he did not tell them. Stay tuned.
Josh Hairston is playing very well and garnering attention. Here is an excerpt from Scouts.com – Hairston plays with a great deal of energy and effort, when engaged in the game. He has a versatile skill set, which allows him to dominate games when he tries. He has to alleviate his tendency to drift, especially offensively, when his team needs a critical bucket. This face-up 4-man has very good quickness and athleticism, which he uses to drive past bigger, slower defenders. Once in the paint, Hairston will finish with his left or right hand at the basket. He can also stretch defenses with his ability to connect on jumpers, with the occasional 3-pointer falling, but he needs to improve his perimeter consistency. He will also post up on the block and he demonstrates solid footwork with his back to the basket. As Hairston gets ready for the next level, he will have to add strength and muscle to his frame, which will make him a better finisher and rebounder on both ends of the floor. He also needs to continue his improvement on the defensive end, an area in which he said he needs better for college. Hairston plays an unselfish brand of basketball and readily accepts coaching. This young man, with his good character, should flourish throughout the summer and become a very good player at Duke, when he enrolls in the fall of 2010.
Anyone heard of this kid named John Wall? It amazes me how much false information and rumors abound on message boards, but that is the nature of the beast these days. Wall left on Tuesday to participate in the Nike Hoop Fest. In a recent brief conversation, he said he would sit down with UNC coach Roy Williams. But he also said that Duke is very much in this race and that he continues to get to know Coach K and was impressed with all that he has heard. Another source close to Wall, claims that Coach K is considered the most “straight up,” of the remaining suitors. This source also stated that Wall is still very much undecided and that he would likely go until the end of April before a decision is reached.
While N.C. State has been rumored to be in the hunt, I think they are out. In fact, I feel he will not make the trip to Miami as well. Look for Wall to make a final list soon to set up a televised decision. I feel Kansas could be on that list but will not be a serious player. I am certain Duke, UNC and Kentucky will make the list and Memphis may sneak in as well. Wall’s coaches do not like the fact that Williams is just now coming in and Wall himself is the only one giving them the time of day. This stems from them avoiding Wall in every way while recruiting others and is considered a slap in the face.
Brian Clifton is sometimes referred to as a handler, but he has been a part of Wall’s life. Clifton (D-One AAU coach) had reservations about Duke for the Wall camp had heard plenty of the negative recruiting tales and didn’t know what to believe. After the visit with Coach K, both Clifton and Wall realized that K was actually a pretty good guy. It may help Duke in that they have been open about anything from Kenny Boynton to how Wall will be utilized. It makes a little sense that another D-One teammate, Ryan Kelly, could help here as well. It also makes a little sense in that Clifton could start a pretty good thing in a pipeline to Duke which would surely benefit him. Deep down, both of them know Duke is a great opportunity.
While I am rambling, let’s go back to Roy. Williams would get involved if for no other reason than to block Coach K and Duke from Wall. Maybe he’s heard the visit went well and fears the Devils the outstanding PG?? Imagine UNC adding some negative recruiting to go with Calipari’s …. could be that Roy wants Wall in Lexington. The rumors you hear about Wall wanting to stay close to home cannot be proven and he will certainly tell you that’s not the case, but it could very well be true in the end. Look, pull up a chair and look to the wind, for every time it changes directions, there will be another twist. The Duke staff simply has to let this play out and hope that the offer of a key to drive the Duke machine will entice Wall to play his ball in Durham. And you surely realize that I used a lot of speculation and what-ifs above. We will continue to stay on top of this recruitment.
New Memphis Coach Josh Pastner is still trying to lure Xavier Henry’s Father from his duties with the Oklahoma City AAU team. He was originally slated to take the basketball operations job, but that is on hold for now. Sources are now saying Kansas may be his destination but a few pieces have to fall into place. I will talk to Mr. Henry this weekend to see if I can get the facts. Solid sources are saying Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson are talking with agents and will enter the draft. Ellington’s final four MVP and late season play sealed the deal for him. Oddly, Lawson deseved the trophy. There were 32% no shows for the coaches NABC during the Final Four which pretty much guaranteed Detroit was a one time deal. Many complained about the logistical nightmares.
Okay, okay … the other name I was hinting at above is Brandon Knight. Now, sit back and watch those corporate sites try to play catch up and magically get the information now that it is here;) Welcome to Blue Devil Nation Premium! [/private]
Mason Plumlee scored 19 points as Christ School won their third straight NCISAA Championship with a 62-54 victory over Ryan Kelly and Ravenscroft.
Plumlee and Kelly led their teams to the championship game. On Thursday, in the quarterfinals, Kelly scored 20 points as Ravenscroft defeated Wesleyan Christian Academy 59-36. Plumlee recorded a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds as Christ School defeated Charlotte Latin School 44-31.
In the semi-finals, Kelly recorded a 24 points and 12 rebounds double-double as Ravenscroft defeated Greensboro Day 57-45. Kelly also had five blocks in the contest. Mason Plumlee blocked eight shots and dished out five assists as Christ School defeated Charlotte Christian 59-47.
Andre Dawkins recorded his 2,000th career point as Atlantic Shores improved to 28-1 by defeating Denbigh Baptist 73-21 in the Metro Conference quarterfinals on Thursday. Dawkins scored 17 points in the game. In the semi-finals on Friday, Dawkins scored 30 points as Atlantic Shores defeated Hampton Christian 89-42.
Harrison Barnes scored 17 points as Ames Little Cyclones defeated Des Moines Lincoln 73-46 in sub-state semi-final action on Friday night.
Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had five assists as Parker High School defeated LeFlore 52-39 in the Alabama 5A state semi-finals. The Championship Game is currently underway in Birmingham.
Josh Smith scored 18 points in a losing effort as Kentridge defeated Kentwood 51-41 in the West Central 4A District tournament. Smith averaged 24.3 points per game for Kentwood this season.
Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee are on a collision course as high school basketball play-offs are underway. The two Duke commitments are the favorites to compete for the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association championship. The Championship game is on Saturday February 28, 2009.
Ravenscroft defeated Cary Academy 70-46 to win the TISAC Conference Championship. Ryan Kellyposted a double-double of 31 points and 10 rebounds. He was named the TISAC Conference Player-of-the-Year for the second straight season.
Mason Plumlee scored 13 points and had a team high seven assists as Christ School defeated Spartanburg Day School 76-68 to advance to the CAA Conference Championship game. On Saturday afternoon, Christ School won the championship with a 63-49 victory over Asheville Christian Academy. Plumlee scored 11 points and blocked five shots.
Eric Bledsoe is a Class of 2009 point guard, from Birmingham, Alabama, whose name has recently surfaced as a Duke recruiting target. Bledsoe scored 11 points and had five steals as Parker HS defeated Woodlawn 49-33. Bledsoe was named the 5A Northeast Regional Most Valuable Player.
DeMatha defeated Gonzaga 68-65 on Friday night in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference play. Quinn Cook scored 25 points in the victory. Cook is a Class of 2011 point guard that is starting to draw rave reviews. Duke commitment Tyler Thornton scored four points for Gonzaga. In a game earlier in the week, Cook dropped 25 points on O’Connell in a 64-53 win.
Out in Iowa, the Ames Little Cyclones finished the regular season undefeated at 21-0. Harrison Barnes scored 28 points as Ames defeated Des Moines Hoover 65-59 on Friday night. Barnes recently visited Duke and took in the game against Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke is looking at two more 2009 Point Guards - If you have been reading our premium message board you already know this, but the Blue Devils decided to look into two more point guards in the class of 2009. Duke Assistant Coach Nate James will take in Eric Bledsoe’s game at Parker High School today. James has been in … for anextensive report on this situation and a team update from today’s interviews, join BDN Premium! [private]contact with Bledsoe and Coach Krzyzewski has also talked to the 6-0, 162 Birmingham, Alabama product. Bledsoe played his AAU ball for
Birmingham Ice this past summer. With concerns to questions on the message board of whether I have seen him play, the answer is yes, but I was not focusing on him at that time. Bledsoe will not back down as a defender and takes the ball aggressively into the teeth of the defense in an effort to find teammates. He is a pass first PG who many praise for his toughness. He holds offers from Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, South Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss in a list which is growing. Bledsoe really likes that Duke has entered the picture.
The other kid garnering the Blue Devils attention is Darius Smith, a 6-2 athletic senior who plays in Krzyewski’s hometown of Chicago. Smith is more of a tweener, but most project him as a point. He is very aggressive on the offensive end. Duke has been in contact with Smith. Duke has yet to see Smith but they have set a visit date to check him out next week.
Despite what you are hearing on other sites, Duke is still optimistic of getting John Wall over. Of course, it would help if he was allowed more access by his entourage of controlling figures. It remains to be seen if John can or will break free and make his own decision. N.C. State and Baylor are IMO the two favorites. Final developments should occur with this situation sooner rather than later.
Duke does not consider Bledsoe and Smith backups to Wall at this point. Duke is in the beginning stages of getting to
know them, but they’ll waste little time. As always, Coach K has to see a player play in person before an offer is put on the table.
So, the bottom line is that Duke is looking for an athletic, quick point guard. If they feel one of these kids can help them next year, they will offer them. Duke is not looking just to fill a scholarship. And yes, there is a possibility two offers may go out. Duke will evaluate them and if the kids are good enough and they like them as people, there are spots available.
Kyle Singler is ready to go- Kyle Singler particpated hard in today’s afternoon practice and is showing no effects from a late game injury.
Dave McClure – Is starting to feel better and should be available against Wake as well.
No starting lineup set yet - Coach K has not told his team who is starting against Wake yet.
Nate James getting acclimated – Duke is breaking in Nate James who will be doing a lot of work on the AAU circuit this spring and summer. James will remain active throughout the season.
Expect Duke to – Come out with a similar lineup against Wake but then substitute freely. I think nine players or more will see some action. Look for Duke to defend their home floor with a fervor for they are well aware that they have just two more home games and some tough road contests coming up.
Elliot Williams – There is no doubt that Elliot has been a bit frustrated, but he seems to understand the process was for the best. Williams talked with several family members after the game. Williams was lauded by his teammates, especially Gerald Henderson who said he really shuts down some of the lanes going to the basket. Henderson seems to have taken him under his wing. All of the freshman room together. [/private]