With the ACC tornament at hand and the NCAA following, we are in the stretch run of the season and that means it will soon be one and done. Despite their intense focus at the task at hand, Duke is still hitting the recruiting trail and BDN Premium brings you our latest update telling you who is getting the attention.
The [private] carnivorous one, the bad ass, Nate "Dogg" James was on the road again for the Blue Devils turning up the heat on key targets while trying to dig up new names along the way. James took in Jabari Parker's game yesterday evening and Duke is keeping in touch with the young budding star on a regular basis. Parker is a 6-7 and growing big forward from Chicago where he plays for Simeon High School and he is on every top ten list for 2013.
Duke is currently looking at a bevy of big forward type of players and they are determined to turn up a couple in an effort to fill their roster with player types they do not have. That brings us to Tony Parker, a kid who move to the top of Prep Stars rankings for the class of 2012. Parker is a 6-8 center, forward from Lithonia, Georgia where he balls for Miller Grove High School. Parker is a dominant post player who is a paint eater and the prototype player Duke covets to feel the middle.
It's no secret Duke loves having a Boozer, Brand, Williams type of center but they are few and far between. Some of the prospects out there just cannot do the work to be at Duke. Tyler Adams didn't want to do what it took to prepare for Duke - he was not willing to transfer to a prep school in his final season - so he ended up at Georgetown instead. Anyhow, that is water under the bridge, so let's go back to Parker.
Coach James will be earning more frequent flyer miles as he watches Parker tonight. Parker has shut down the media of late not taking calls and you can bet that now that we've printed this, somebody will violate our contractual member agreement and bring this news to other sites, resulting in Parker getting aggressively called on second hand information. Please don't be complicit in violating this agreement!
Other names that have popped up for a look are Robert Carter, Ricardo Gathers, Gabin Ware and a few other Georgia kids. James is working the Georgia area hard, which traditionally sends kids to SEC schools and/or Georgia Tech. For whatever reason, few kids seem to travel far from Georgia and that could be a part of their AAU system and where coaches suggest they go, but who knows for sure?
Coach Wojciechowski, yes I know how to spell the long version of Wojo, is keeping tabs on Shabazz Muhammad and recently took in his last game. The season is now over for Muhammad who most recently visited Kentucky. The two big names at the top of the 2012 list are Muhammad and the aforementioned Parker. There are some other names in the class of 2012 and we'll unveil one who has been getting interest when we catch up to him after a week of phone tag. Stay tuned!
Duke is also staying in close touch with their verbal commitments as well but once the ball is thrown up in the ACC Tournament, recruiting will take a backseat.
Andrew took in Andre Drummond's recent game and scoped some other talent and he will likely chime in soon as well.
Having followed Duke every step of the way last season, I can tell you that Coach Krzyzewski's focus is tunnel vision and the team blocks everybody and everything out until the business at hand is finished. The media was allowed to be up close and personal in practices, but when I saw Coach with his focused scowl on coming my way, I would clear out, almost feeling as if I shouldn't be that close and or giving him is space.
I am still in awe of my seat directly behind the Duke bench in the Final Four where during the West Virginia game I was peering into the huddle for a second while an intense Coach K was making sure his team did not let up. For a brief time, less than a second, he looked up and caught me eye to eye. Needless to say I looked down for the truth is that Duke wants privacy in the huddle and I know that but could not help myself for a glimpse.
In my minds eye, I was thinking of how surreal it was to be in a packed and quite lovely Lucas Oil Arena at the Final Four with Duke about to move to the title game. Anyhow, during each timeout of the national championship game I kept my eyes on the keyboard during timeouts, respecting the wishes I knew the team had.
The next day was an off day, but we were of course in full interview mode. The next morning the day of the game we were inside Lucas Oil when the doors opened and I took time to go to the very top of the arena and found myself sitting alone looking out over the again, beautiful facility [best I have ever seen] reflecting, pinching myself and realizing how lucky I was to be so close to the program, one which was about to make history with their fourth national title.
There was complete silence as I sat there for a good thirty minutes thinking of how CBS would explode the living rooms of fans later in the day and the place would soon be bustling with Duke fans and those from Butler a school just down the road. During the game itself, I was in awe of when Coach Wojo stood up barking orders knowing exactly where Butler players were going and trying to relay that to the team.
Coach K was perched in his chair above the arena bench dugout area and that scene of the packed backdrop lives with me today. As the buzzer sounded after that amazing close shot, I saw the Duke family break out into celebration and would later be on the court to bring you the post game action BDN style. I saw Coach K come over to throw love to his family. I saw the joy in the eyes of the coaches and players. I saw how CBS would orchestrate the Blue Devils for their post game bit and then I watched as they cut down the nets.
But the most cherished memory for me was after the post game had finally ended for the team. In the locker room, I posed with the national champions trophy and I was able to see the kids I have grown to care about celebrate. Zoubek, Thomas and Scheyer made up an amazing senior class and it was their moment as it was for Kyle, Nolan and the rest. Nobody wanted it to end that was close to the team.
Everybody was running on adrenaline for we were all as they say in the deep south "Dead dog tired." I finally left the locker room even though I wanted to just lay in the floor, LOL. And that is when the amazing journey was capped off in a most fitting way.
As I strolled down the corridor, here came Coach K in his golf cart having just finished talking with CBS and addressing the media on the podium and the time was well after midnight. The vision of him returning to the locker room made me just smile, look down and shake my head back and forth in a manner in which I was asking myself is all of this real.
By the time I looked up as the driver of the golf cart had slowed down, a smiling Mike Krzyzewski with no words spoken held his closed fist out meeting mine in a gesture that meant the world to me. And even though no words were spoken by either of us at that time, a whole lot was said. I have a lot of stories I will one day get to, but I can only hope this year is as fruitful. All I can tell you is that BDN is and will be on the scene. Thanks for suporting Blue Devil Nation with your membership and Go Duke! [/private]