Blue Devil Nation tipped off the masses that Duke came away enamored with California Supreme big man Marcus Lee (6-9, 210) after the Nike EYBL. Coach Mike Krzyzewski called Lee today with an offer which makes the second the Blue Devils have handed out in two days.
We had BDN Recruiting Analyst Andrew Slater on the scene and we made sure he spoke to Lee and that interview is on the way for BDN Premium members. We knew the call was coming and that he would likely earn a coveted offer to Duke and BDN just confirmed it via sources close to the team.
Lee told BDN’s Andrew Slater yesterday that he credits volleyball, in terms of jumping, concentration, and being peaceful, with helping his shot blocking. “He’s trying to carve out a niche as a shot blocker/rebounder. His brother and uncle will be the point men in his recruitment, ” said Slater.
Lee told Slater that he grew up a Carolina fan, but said he’s very open to Duke. He has a brother played college ball as well. Distance will not be a factor in his recruitment, but he’s looking for a coach that he’s comfortable with, like Miles Simon (his AAU coach), and warm weather is a must.
We will have Slaters’ complete interview up for BDN Premium members shortly, so check back in.
There is a lot to talk about in this weeks Monday Musings column with concern to Duke Basketball, especially on the recruiting front. As you already know, Duke made an offer to 6-10 forward Austin Nichols and that kicks off the AAU season.
Speaking of the AAU season, Blue Devil Nation Recruiting Analyst, Andrew Slater covered the Nike EYBL and showed his prowess on the beat. Slaters’ twitter site blew up this weekend with premium like information as it happened. Our premium members know that Slater is the best at what he does and now the secret is out that Team BDN is as good as it gets. My side kick is a protege of the infamous Tom Knochalski, a legend and pioneer on prospect evaluation and his in depth interviews and analysis on the front is unmatched.
Slater will unveil an interview with Marcus Lee who plays for California Supreme, a prospect who caught the Blue Devils staff eyes this past weekend. BDN tipped the nation off last night that there is a new kid firmly on the radar. But Slater also spoke with Jabari Parker and a dozen more true Duke prospects, so BDN Premium is the place to be this week, so join today and see just how awesome our AAU coverage is. You will love the value and knowledge we bring to the table, I guarantee it.
Is today the day Tony Parker decides? Well, if it is, it will put an end to one of the more bizarre recruitment’s of the season. Parker has frustrated some national recruiting analyst to the point where they will not even give him the time of day with coverage. This talented young man would fit well with Duke next season but whether the golden opportunity dawns on him before his 4:00 scheduled decision remains to be seen. Parker has had a bit too much fun with the media and there will be a collective and anxiously awaited sigh from the schools still in the running for him in that the roller coaster will finally come to a halt.
There is still no word on when Philly product Amile Jefferson will decide but many feel it is down to Duke and N.C. State. I would think his choice would come this week, so lot’s going on this week beyond the pending NFL Draft. Yep! Basketball recruiting is in bloom and Duke fans anxiously await the Jefferson decision to see if he will be added to the roster next season.
Congratulations to the Duke Men’s LAX team for downing arch rival North Carolina to win the ACC Championship. The boys in royal blue scored 10 second half goals in a furious comeback for the victory and now it is on to the NCAA’s.
Now that the Andre Dawkins news forced it’s way out, there should be no more happenings around the team in that manner. I didn’t say there would not be rumors, but hopefully people will learn to follow those sources with long time proven track records and not some poster who tells you he’s the man and he said, she said the neighbors dog groomer, cuts Skippys’ coat and Skip belongs to the guy that runs the cleaners where a player goes and a player told that player that another player said that so and so was unhappy at Duke . Silly, isn’t it? Still, many would fall for it hook, line and sinker in the steadily growing and unstable world of web based reporting.
In ending, again, consider joining BDN Premium and see for yourself what you are missing. Duke will be on the trail this weekend at two events and we’ll be out there just like this past weekend. And be sure to follow Andrew Slater on his twitter site and our resident football analyst Patrick Cacchio here and then there is of course my BDN site here.
Have a good week Blue Devil Nation and visit often for there will be a lot to talk about in the coming days.
The Duke Men’s Basketball staff has been on the road and the first offer of the AAU season came today, going to Austin Nichols of Briarcrest Christian High School in Memphis. Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski gave the 6-9 Tennessee native a call just moments ago according to Nichols’ twitter site and BDN has confirmed the offer is legitimate.
Coach K went to see Nichols play on Friday during a pit stop before the Nike EYBL in Minneapolis. The head Duke man apparantely like what he saw thus the offer to Nichols who is in next seasons class of 2013. Many scouts feel he can play the forward and center position at the next level.
Duke joins Memphis, Texas and Florida as teams that have offered or showed passionate interest and more schools are likely to come in.
It’s been a while since I threw out an edition of Monday Musings so let’s try an abbreviated version to hold you over -
Next stop for Rasheed Sulaimon … Duke University
As you know already we covered the Nike Jordan Brand All Star game this past weekend and Sulaimon showed well for the Dukies earning praise along the way from many recruiting types. Sulaimon will be on the Duke campus in early July which is just over two months away and he will take the time in between to reflect on all that has happened to date and continue his workouts. Having seen Sulaimon play in person over 20 times now, I can tell you that Duke fans will love his ability to play good defense and his first step is as good as it gets. While not a total speed demon, Sulaimon has a way of being all over the place as an active player.
We hardly knew you …
Word started to leak out yesterday that Michael Gbinije would transfer and this has long been floating around the rumor mill. Well, it is all but a formality at this point and we should hear official word from the Duke Sports Information Department any time now. Gbinije has a history of transferring from schools, several stops in high school and seems to be having trouble finding the right fit. We wish Gbinije the best and it looks as if he will take a long look at Big East and Virginia are schools. He is a talented young man and a great student, so he will do well. Normally, the school handles official announcements but the rush for a scoop caused a lot of issues. The sad truth is any kid transferring is not newsworthy enough to have been handled in the way it was and bordered on being meddlesome but that is simply one mans opinion.
Amile Jefferson come on down …
Duke still has a shot at Amile Jefferson who is still deciding between several schools making hard, late runs for his services. I expect we’ll know what the deal is as early as this week. The general consensus is that he is the last prospect Duke has a shot at in 2012.
Unless, Tony Parker comes around at the midnight hour. Sources have told Blue Devil Nation that he will make his selection known at his high school on Friday of this week. Parker was rumored heavily to be UCLA bound this weekend, but he has been the center of many rumors and many national analyst washed their hands with him once he started being all over the place with his comments. Parker shows little respect for most of the media and is a young kid funning about with the process. In the end, do not be shocked if he stays in state and goes to Georgia, His recruitment has frustrated many fans, especially those of Duke for there is a glaring obviousness that he has a spot at Duke where he would play. I am think the parents who strongly favored Duke will settle for him staying near home. Parker is a good kid with a nice skill set but looking back on his decision will be interesting. Who knows, maybe he will have another last minute change of heart but I would not wager the house on it at this point.
Nike EYBL kicks off this week
The Nilke EYBL gets underway at Minneapolis, Minnesota this week and Duke will have a bevy of prospects there. The coaches will be out in full force this week during an earlier open period than years past. The bigger names they will watch are Jabari Parker and Julius Randle but several others are on the radar which members of the Blue Devil Nation know about. For more on the recruiting front, join BDN Premium as we start our unmatched AAU coverage which has now become a site tradition.
Rasheed Sulaimon played his last game as high school player and scored 13 points to go with 7 rebounds and 2 assists as the West All Stars defeated the East 99-95 at the Jordan Brand All Star Classic. Here is part one and part two will be up shortly as well.
Well, it’s that time of year again when AAU ball cranks up and for BDN that means we’ll be hitting several big events. Austin Rivers decision to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft wasn’t that big of a surprise to us and we all wish him luck. Rivers decision is the first thing that will set the future into motion as the staff will be hot on the recruiting trail. While many Duke fans hate to see Rivers lead, he can help the program at the next level and they will show that shot against UNC several times early on in his pro career. He joins Kyrie Irving as players kids will really identify with.
I expect Mason Plumlee will (you must be a BDN Premium member to read the 2000 plus word update, so join today!) [private] enter his name into the draft to get feedback as to his draft status which must be done by April 3rd. Plumlee from all accounts is torn about his decision but the departure of Austin Rivers could help. Had Rivers returned the offense would have been run through him and the Blue Devils would have been his team. His high school coach David Gaines said that he was weighing his options and that one thing he would want is more touches or to be used in a more prominent role, It seems part of Plumlee wants to return and finish what he started and play with his brother Marshall for a year. Marshall could surely use his tutoring and Duke could surely use his presence in the paint. But an equal part of Mason wants to go pro and it may come down to where he is projected in a deep draft. It’s probably even odds right now but that could change. If I were to guess, I think Mase will probably want to go through his senior season and be a more focal point for the team but I am not majorly confident with the info I have received to date and it is worth noting that I have not talked this over with some of my usual sources.
Should Plumlee head to the league with Rivers, Duke will be in major need of a big or two. There are two options, one being Tony Parker and the other Alex Oriakhi, the Connecticut transfer. Should Plumlee go, it would be a match made in heaven with Oriakhi. As for Tony Parker, he announced that he would be making a decision on April 11th and I can tell you now that Duke is a definite player. Coach K locked in on his parents early on and there is a very solid relationship and trust between them. While Parker has seemingly bought into all of the anti Duke recruiting rhetoric and squirmed away at the mention of Duke, he may finally be seeing the light and the opportunity he has stepping right into playing time at Duke. Parker showed signs of getting a bit out of shape at the McDonald’s All American drills but who knows the circumstances or that he didn’t have something going on? Anyhow, he has trimmed his list to Duke, Kansas and UCLA. IMO, Los Angeles is too far from home unless all his pals go there and that means it is likely down to two, Kansas and Duke. I think the Blue Devils have proximity in their favor as well and may pull this one out. Their odds are much better than they were a month ago at this time and Parker knows he would plug right in. Parker’s decision may also effect the aforementioned Oriakhi.
Shabazz Muhammad won the dunk contest and he will choose a school on April 11th as well on an ESPN special. His decision likely has bearing on Trey Zeigler, a recent visitor and I expect nothing will happen with him until Bazz pulls the trigger due to available slots. Duke can now show Muhammad that he can be there next one and done freshman and that may be enough to pull him in. Zeigler offers maturity and the ability to guard certain types of players on defense. It will be interesting to see how all plays out, but I feel one will be on the roster at this time. And there is still the shadow of an NCAA investigation over Bazz and this could effect him going to what many felt the leader has been for months, Kentucky.
The Duke coaches will assault the AAU circuit full throttle before July for that is when Coach K will be heading up Team USA and he’ll take assistants Collins and Wojo with him. That means April is an important month and the staff will take in both Nike EYBL sessions and other events I will share at a later date. Jeff Capel, Nate James and Chris Spatola will fill in while the staff builds the team they hope wins gold.
Several Duke Assistants have been considered for other jobs but the info coming in is somewhat shaky so I will not share the rumors. The Illinois job supposed linked three Duke types, Johnny Dawkins who led Stanford to the NIT title game, Steve Wojciechowski and of course Chris Collins. It looks like the job has been filled and Collins was like the next one or two choices had the job remained open. Nothing official while I am typing this though … It is looking more and more like a mid major stepping stone job may be the ticket for some. Back to Dawkins, he would probably like to go somewhere it is easier to recruit but his Stanford team will compete for the PAC 10 the next two season should he stay put and I expect him to do so.
The coaches will be meeting with players to tell them what to work on for the coming season and what role they envision them taking on. And you have heard a lot of transfer rumors by now and I fully expect some movement. It’s hard for me to share too much on that front in that it is a sensitive and private issue for the program, but the most rumored kid to leave Michael Gbinije seems prepared to returned and told his AAU coach he knew Coach K knew what he was doing. It has also come out that Seth Curry can or will graduate and that he entertained going overseas but no firm decision has been made. It was odd that Austin Rivers seemed to slip and say he was gone in the locker room after the tournament loss, but there was a lot of emotion going on.
I can tell you that there will be a shake up and Duke will try to get back to playing better defense and I expect all players will be challenged and have to earn their time next season. The coaches, like us. have to let all shake out and each player or prospect move will effect one another with concern to the players/prospects in play.
The Carolina Classic has concluded and we’ll add some late scouting reports and get the thoughts of others before weeks end. I would say Theo Pinson is the only prospect firmly on the radar and while there are other good players, none of them are past the evaluation mode. For those new to BDN Premium, the evaluation mode consists of players they are putting feelers out on. Many kids, like prospect Tyrone Outlaw will get a look and he will visit in an unofficial manner, but it is common for local star prospects to drop by campus. Jeff Capel is the lead guy for Outlaw but I’m not sure he would make the final cut. However he does add toughness to the team he will play for and he can guard bigger players. Outlaw will have to improve his perimeter game to become a real candidate. Duke has showed some interest in Jaquel Richmond as well but something tells me they may not pursue him as hard as some other names.
Another name which has popped up is Christian Harrison of Greensboro Day. Harrison grew up a Duke fan and of course says he would accept an offer on the spot. He’s a nice late bloomer in the rankings but has very thin shoulder width which needs a lot of added muscle. He can finish very well and is a smooth player but hangs outside a bit too much for my tastes. His second game was his worst and his defense was awful at times in that game. He wasn’t playing help D or using his length a lot. His third game would have one drooling and he played much better after motivational speeches. I would have to get more views on him to get a real feel. We will have an interview up soon with him.
The Nike Jordan-Brand Classic is on my agenda where I will see Rasheed Sulaimon play and hopefully one or two more future Blue Devils. The even on April 14th will allow us to know where Tony Parker and Shabazz Muhammad are going. There are a slew of UNC and N.C. State guys playing in the event, a game of local North Carolina ballers and an International game. continues to work Duke prospects as does his future teammate Matt Jones.
The Nike EYBL season starts in April as well and it gets underway with session I in Minnesota on April 20-22 and then session II in Hampton, Virginia the following weekend. The event is loaded with Duke prospects and among them are Chicago studs, Jabari Parker, the top rated player in the class of 2013 and Jahill Okafor, the paint eater and key Blue Devil target as well. Both will suit up for the Mac Irwin Fire again and Parker has been the Blue Devils top target for a long time and as I have said for a year or so now, I feel Duke is in great shape with him. Then there is the Texas Titan duo of MattJones a shooting guard who has already pledged to Duke and his teammate, the bullish post man, Julius Randle. If Duke misses on bigs this year, their need for Randle will be dire. Duke is in good shape and will surely make his final cut and he is right there with Jabari Parker as the most important prospects they will work before Olympic duties. But rest easy for Duke Assistant Jeff Capel is the lead recruiter for him and that bodes well. Then there are the two PG prospects, Anthony Barber 2013 and Tyus Jones 2014. Long time members know I rave when speaking of Jones and I will finally get more views of Barber. Both are legitimate standouts but Jones to me is special and a winner. But Jones has the nation after him and he will be a tough get. Duke will also have their eyes open for other players and by the end of April we should have some new names popping up. Other names to watch are big man Bee Jay Anya and Theo Pinson to name a few.
By all accounts, Ryan Kelly is healing nicely and he should have plenty of time to have his game together before the season starts. Duke players had a lot of nagging injuries by seasons end but the Blue Devils do not broadcast them until later and maybe no even then. Coach Krzyzewski has never been one to share too much in the past. But it was certainly evident that the loss of Kelly effected the team concept and in hindsight, Kelly added a lot of value to the team.
The take on Amile Jefferson in interesting. Talk to the NCSU types and they are majorly confident he comes. Their spin is he is waiting to see what C.J Leslie does, well, I will tell you that he is going pro. Jefferson has a great relationship with the Wolfpack staff but I feel his heart is with Duke. I though his decision may be tied in with the McDonald’s game but it seems he will watch what happens with team rosters as well as others now. Jefferson is a nice young man who is likely having trouble telling certain teams no. Villanova continues to make the hometown push and they are still hovering about but it is down to the ACC schools and I still feel Duke is in the best shape to get his services. But it’s recruiting, so who knows 100% sure what might happen.
So, we are all waiting to watch the McDonald’s All American game this evening and to see how things shake out for Duke Basketball. You have heard me say the following on numerous occasions but it applies more than ever to current situations. Let it play out. Freaking out and over speculation is a waste of ones energy. Watch what prospects do and not what they say. Actions speak louder than words.
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