Tag Archives: JP Tokoto

Duke Basketball Recruiting Update

As many of you know recruiting has been red hot around the basketball program of late and the Blue Devils entertained a bevy of prospects this past weekend.  Of those visiting, Quin Cook was the biggest priority in that Duke is looking to close on the PG prospect and they [private] will likely do so sooner rather than later.  I cannot give you an exact timeline but I feel from information gleaned from top notch sources close to the situation, that he could pull the trigger to become the newest Blue Devil very soon.  We’ll keep you posted.

There were a few names have not been discussed here that often visiting as well, but for now I will focus on the kids which have the Blue Devils utmost interest.  Amile Jefferson will continue to be evaluated by Duke, but no offer is expected any time soon, meaning Krzyzewski wants some more views as he progresses.  Quite simply, Jefferson needs to put some meat on his frame to be effective at Duke and only time will tell if he can fill that criteria.

Quin Cook and Austin Rivers take in the action at Countdown to Craziness - BDN Photo, Rick Crank

On the other hand, Duke is solidly involved with Rasheed Sulaimon, who we interviewed last evening.  There is no offer but that could change down the road as Coach familiarizes himself with the prospects ability to keep improving.  If he shows the desire to get better and he progresses, he will land an offer and with him being a Duke fan, if that happens consider him a done deal.

Duke will also continue to recruit Rodney Purvis who from all accounts had a good time on his visit.  Purivs recruitment will go on for quite a while IMO, so don’t look for too much going on here in the near future.

Still major priorities are Alex Murphy and Shabazz Muhammad.  In fact, consider them the top two kids on the radar past Cook and or count them all as equally important.  The Blue Devils will hang in there as long as it takes with Muhammad and they appear to be in good shape with Murphy.  Visits are being firmed up as I type, more on that down the road.

Duke is still quite interested in J.P. Tokoto as well and expect some things to start happening in the next six months on this front.  And let’s not forget Tony Parker for he is starting to get a lot more interest and could well have an offer shortly down the road.

Finally on Tyler Adams … Duke is still committed to him and as of now all is fine and they were aware of the visit.  Adams is keeping his options open a bit as is Duke, but this could all work out provided he does the work.  In fact, until further notice, I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

I appreciate members patience in what has turned out to be the busiest time I can remember for me in a decade or so.  It makes it tough to get to many articles I have planned and get CTC pictures up.  I head to Charlotte tomorrow for ACC Operation Basketball, so keep in mind that I will check in when I can.  Remember that BDN covers the Duke Beat in person and we strive to bring you constant in person update with our own questions to players and coaches.[/private]

BDN Hoops Recruiting Update – Duke in home with Rivers on Tuesday and much more

Duke set to visit Rivers in home on Monday and more happenings from the recruiting trail are part of BDN Premiums latest update - BDN Photo

Just recently, we posted our latest hoops team and recruiting report, but even more information is coming in.  Let’s start it off with talk of Austin Rivers. who recently had an in home visit with Roy Williams and North Carolina.  The Blue Devils get there turn this Tuesday when Krzyzewski and Chris Collins will head south.

Once they arrive in Florida Duke [private] hopes to start wrapping his recruitment up.  And yes, Austin will visit the UNC campus for certain.  We have no idea how the in home visit went with the Tar Heels but I can tell you that I still feel just fine with where Duke is at this point and time.

The Rivers camp has never sent anything other than good vibes Duke’s way and it is not unusual for him to want to take a couple of visits.  I feel Rivers already knows where he wants to go but is simply going through the process due to what happened with his brothers choice of schools.

The Duke coaches had as much contact as is allowed with Rivers all the way through to Istanbul.  And as I told you, the action would sart in the Rivers camp only after Kryzewski returned stateside.

I think a key here is that Duke will get their visit after UNC’s.  This one could be over as early as late October.  Austin and his Dad Doc know exactly what Duke wants.

There has been talk of Myck Kabongo but he seems to be happy with Kansas.  Duke could not and would not contact him and could only show interest if he were to re-open his recruitment.  There sole focus is on Cook at this time.

That means Quinn Cook joins Austin Rivers as the final two targets with offers.  While a lot of people didn’t seem to know Cook held an offer, I can tell you that Kryzyzewski made it official in late July.  Duke is turning up the heat with Cook and I’m getting some good vibes with other information I heard which I cannot share at this time.  I can say that Nolan Smith is turning up the chatter with someone he is obviously very close to.

Despite what Savon Goodman said, Duke is still more interested in Amile Jefferson but they will keep an eye on both.  Jefferson needs to put on some muscle and Goodmans outside shot is a work in progress.

In the class of 2012 only Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Murphy have offers.  In short, Duke is in the proverbial evaluation stage with several players and one of those is Rasheed Sulaimon.  We hinted a while back that interest is picking up here and as you read in our last update Nate James dropped in on him recently and took in L.J. Rose as well.  We will not know Duke’s full interest in Rose until Cook makes his decision.

Our last update let you know that Wojo was on the recruiting trail but we now know that list included J.P. Tokoto.  Duke still likes this kid and will hang in there with him.  We already told you he checked out Muhammad

Chris Spatola was also allowed to be out on thee road [three at any open period per NCAA rules] also checked out Grant Jarrett, a talented kid they will evaluate. and local sensation Rodney Purvis.

The Blue Devils still like Kaleb Tarczewski a lot and he will definitely be at the forefront in the future.

The football team will host a ton of prospects this weekend as well and we are putting something together on that and will have it up by Friday.

Finally, here is the list for Countdown to Craziness at this time – Austin Rivers, Michael Gbinije, Rodney Purvis, Amile Jefferson, Marshall Plumlee, Tony Parker and Rasheed Sulaimon. [/private]

Monday Musings – ACC Operation Football, media guides, future schedules and AAU Basketball

BDN is at ACC Operation Football today while Andrew wraps up his AAU coverage in Las Vegas. Busy week ahead, so stay tuned.

Are you ready for some football?  You better be for ACC Operation Kickoff got underway in Greensboro, North Carolina.  For many fans, the media gathering  signals the start of ACC Football season. 

 The votes are already in for the projected order of finish in the conference and the player of the year and the results will be released at 3:30 today.  I went with Florida State in the Atlantic and Virginia Tech in the coastal but it wouldn’t surprise me if Georgia Tech, Miami or North Carolina won the Coastal for they are that even.  Could all of them go 6-2 in the conference?  We’ll soon know.

– Electronic media has a huge presence in Greensboro and there are signs that we are in the infancy of a new age of convergence.  There will be some trial and error in the effort to merge new and old but in the end it’s a necessary progression.  But there are concerns and you can bet that the ACC will control who they allow access to for it seems everybody has a team blog these days.

One change is the fact that Duke will no longer print a glossy media guide.  That’s right collecting purist’s, those yearbooks are for now a thing of the past.   I’ll miss those old black and white glossy guides but there is an upside.  Duke has produced the most informative guide in the conference for pure information.  No photo’s or glitz, just information.

 In April, the NCAA passed a law which no longer allows schools to send traditional media guides to prospects or recruits.  For many schools, this was an opportunity to show off their program.  I doubt that’s the reason for Georgia Tech and Maryland’s bare bones offerings. [I had a little crow for breakfast for Georgia Tech's offering is here today as is Maryland's]

Maryland produced it’s basketball media guide on DVD-R and put out a few pages for football.  But as paltry as there information for media is, it’s still better than Georgia Tech who provided a few stapled pages from a copier that could use some ink.

North Carolina trimmed their 2011 Media Guide down as did some of the other school but those I have not mentioned were all  average or above average in their offerings.  Okay, let me get to the point.  Media members need hard copies to facilitate their best work.

You see a lot of stuff on PDF files, but have you ever tried to open that during or after  a game while still being able to access to your article? The navigation is awkward at best especially for long documents.  May the hard copies live forever.

– The Duke Men’s Basketball Coaches are winding up their viewing of AAU events this week.  Coaches James and Collins are in Orlando for the Showcase and  AAU Nationals.  As you may have seen in our tweets or updates if you are a member, Kryzyzewski took in Murphy and Muhammad in Las Vegas while juggling his Team USA duties.  Lot’s to come for members of BDN Premium this week.

– And be sure to tune in to ESPN 3 at 7:00 EST tonight, for Michael Gbinije and Team Takeover will face Each One led by Austin Rivers. 

Here is a look at the 2011, 2012 Duke Football schedules –

2011 Duke Football Schedule

Home – Richmond, Stanford, Tulane, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Away – Florida International, Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

2012 Duke Football Schedule

Home – Florida International, Memphis, N.C. Central, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

Away – Stanford, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Everybody wants to know whats up with Austin Rivers - BDN Photo

The latest on Duke Basketball Recruiting from BDN Premium

Everybody wants to know whats up with Austin Rivers - BDN Photo

BDN takes a look at how things are going on the recruiting front in our latest detailed update.  If you want to know who the Blue Devils are seriously interested in and their likely strategy, read on.  Join BDN Premium for full site access and be there every step of the way as we cover every major AAU event as warm weather rolls in.  At BDN, we focus in on the players you want to hear about by concentrating only

A lot of talk surrounds Austin Rivers these days, [private] but nothing has really changed.  Duke expects to sign Rivers by the end of summer but as I have stated numerous times, the decision could come sooner and maybe, just maybe, even later.  The bottom line is that Duke has a significant lead and that has been the case throughout the threads which total 50,000 views collectively where people hang on every little blip on the radar.  My suggestion is to sit back and relax and allow this to happen for it is on pace.  The Rivers camp will not make any kind of move until the NBA playoffs are over and that could be in July if they keep winning.

Duke recently reached out to Anthony Davis, a top notch prospect from Chicago, Krzyzewski’s old stomping grounds.  They will be taking a good long look at him once they are allowed to take in events.  Andrew and myself will be sure to keep a eye out for him as we get to know him better together.  With a busy AAU tournament schedule coming up, we see no reason in calling him before we see him play.

The Duke staff will also continue to evaluate players they’ve developed early relationships with. Among those will be Quincy Miller, Marshall Plumlee and Amir Williams. The Blue Devils will be looking at other players as well to see who emerge as the humid days of summer give way to September.

Duke will continue to recruit Miller while look at others as well. BDN Photo

One of the questions I often get is how may players does Duke look to sign in 2011.  The answer is that number could vary from three to five.  Duke is happy having steady swingman Michael Gbinije and ever improving Tyler Adams in the fold and they of course want Austin Rivers as well.  The fourth and fifth guys would come into play of Duke experiences a mass exodus to the NBA.  That is a pretty good possibility for Mason Plumlee and Kyrie Irving could join Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith in the first round.  If Duke somehow defends the title this is almost certain to happen but we all know how hard that is.  Regardless, Duke will have a target on on their backs again in that they are the likely pre season number one team in the country.  Duke will only sign a guard in 2011 if Irving or Curry leave.

The great thing about winning the national championship is that Duke can once again be selective and with another banner season seemingly coming, the Blue Devils will remain hot and in the spotlight.  That means they’ll take their time with a bevy of names that will grow in the coming months.   We told you last summer that Duke assistants loved Alex Murphy’s game and he is a hot name at the moment, but Coach K needs to check out his game.  Shabazz Muhammad has impressed them immensely.  It helps that the Team USA training facility is where Duke can keep a close eye on the talented Vegas native.  While some would have you think J.P. Tokoto is already a Tar Heel, Duke is not buying that just yet and they are still involved withthe athletic prospect.  Amile Jefferson, who Andrew interviewed just last week is also an early name on the radar.  Again, there are other names that will come to light some of which you already know of  and others who will be new when Duke can get their views in July an open period for events.  Duke is not rushing the process with any of the above mentioned names at this time.

I was waiting for some new info but it has been delayed so I’ll add an addendum later. [/private]

2012 prospect J.P. Tokota talks of his visit to Duke

JP Tokoto is just fifteen years old but he is already tabbed as one of the best players in 2012
J.P. Tokoto is just fifteen years old but he is already tabbed as one of the best players in 2012

This past weekend Duke held their instructional camp and one of the kids that caught their eye was class of 2012 prospect J.P. Tokoto (6-5, 180, Menomonee Falls, WI).  The budding star was accompanied by his parents, trainer and high school basketball coach.  BDN Premium caught up with Tokoto and got his thoughts on Duke and Coach K –

Can you describe your game in your own words for fans who have yet to see you play?

Offensively I’m more of a slasher than a jump shooter.  I can get by people to shoot or step out for the shot something I’ve been working on.  Defensively, I can get up on ball and defend, deflect the ball for fast breaks and rebound one of the better things I do.

The nations elite basketball programs are all showing interest in you, what is that like for you?

It’s an honor to be recruited by them.  When I hear my name mentioned with [private] Duke or a Kansas I’m happy.  I love the process, it’s fun to me.

You haven’t played the game of basketball that long.  When did you start?

I started playing basketball when I was in the fifth grade and fell in love with it.  I continue to practice and get better.  I know that this can all go away so you have to keep on working. [talking of hype]

You went to Duke this past weekend, what was that trip like?

The Duke visit was really nice.  We didn’t really get to tour the campus or anything because we didn’t have time.  After day one of the camp we took a tour of Cameron and the facilities, saw the coaches room, locker rooms and everything.

What impressed you most about Coach K?

His seriousness and how focused he was.  Even though he jokes and everything, he’s got a serious side to him and means business.

What was the highlight of the visit?

What impressed me most was the coaching staff, was you know, their hospitality and everything.  They really showed they cared watching my games … Coach K pulled me to the side and critiqued me on stuff which I thought was pretty nice in that he took some time with me.  He told me what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong.  He talked with us about the Olympic experience and everything.

Could you see yourself playing at a school like Duke?

Oh yeah.  I can envision myself playing for them and can imagine myself fitting in.

What schools are coming at you the hardest?

Kansas, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke and Tennessee

What three words best describe you as a basketball player?

Hard working, athletic and explosive

And three words off the court?

Energetic, fun and devoted

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More Tokoto - We have only scratched the surface on Tokoto in that his parents were forthcoming about the trip.  It is obvious that there is a healthy respect for Duke. His parents are big on education and he is making good grades.  They are hands on in raising JP with old fashioned values.  The following comments are from his (step) father –

JP is big on family – “He’ll sometimes get the riding lawn mower and get the children on it.  They call it the “night ride,” where he piles them in a trailer and rides them through the sub division and that’s a big deal for them,” said Pops.

Family in awe of visits – “After North Carolina and Duke we just kind of looked at each other and smiled.  He would smile a smile and mom and dad?  We were right there sharing it with him.  But after the smiles, we kick it back down a notch.  JP was in awe and we try to remind him saying here is your chance.  You’ve been exposed to great universities.  Hands down top notch universities.  Son, if you think it stops here then you are fooled.  We remind him to embrace having this opportunity and that it should be treated with honor.”

Family loves the state – North Carolina was a blast, I mean the whole state!  My wife has a sister that lives there so we feel like we belong because we are home and get to visit family, it was just fun.

On his visit to UNC – It was a blast.  We have much respect, much respect for that program.  It’s one of the staples of basketball.  They treated us very kindly, we got to tour the campus and see what that was about.  Coach Williams spent about an hour with us sharing different stories and pictures.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say it was a unique and fun experience.  It was a fun trip, we were tested great by Coach Williams and his staff.  We have nothing but good things to say about UNC.  And then the very next day we go to the mecca, we go to Duke.

On Duke - We are right there sitting through the camp watching the drills and games and we saw Coach K start off talking to the boys and parents.  Just seeing Coach K, he’s a … a [brief loss for words]  he’s such a calm man, but when you see him on TV he’s not so calm and you don’t catch too many smiles.  Hearing him talk in person and he says such wise things to the boys.  I walked away understanding why the United States chose him to coach the basketball team.  Despite all of the wins he speaks so eloquently about … he spoke about standards.  He didn’t talk about rules, he talked about standards and if they are high enough then the rules are automatically taken care of.  That is so true.  Hearing him share that wisdom was awesome.

On K’s comments - He told the boys, “Don’t go to bed thinking how tired you are, think about how great you are going to be tomorrow and envision it.  I’m listening and the man had me pumped up.  I was ready, I wanted to run out the tunnel.  J.P. told us that night, I  am going out and I am going to play hard tomorrow and he did.  It was a first class event, and I was still talking about it with  his high school coach tonight.  Even the strength coach walks around with a purpose.  I mean that man waled around like I am the strength coach.  I looked around and all of his coaches knew their roles and they were at attention.

On education - Education has to play a lead role in his decision.  “When you go to Duke you feel that academic prestige and besides that they are a mecca in the basketball world.”

On opportunities to be coached – “Coach K was able to get him on the side maybe three times going over his game.  So J.P. got his fair share of tips. ”

Closing comment - “JP would be ecstatic to talk to Coach K and hopefully, sooner rather than later, that opportunity will present itself and I think that might happen soon now that the camp is over.

Quick facts

– JP’s biological Father is former Georgia Tech star, Brian Oliver.

– Wisconsin was the first school to offer him during his freshman year of high school.  Marquette soon followed.

– Tokoto almost averaged a double-double as a freshman in high school.  His Dad fancies him a team player.

– Kansas and Indiana are the most recent schools to offer. [/private]