The Duke men's basketball staff spent some time on the road scoping out prospects during the City of Palms Invitational before the Christmas break. Here are highlights from three future Blue Devils in DJ Stewart, AJ Griffin, and Mark Williams from our friends at Courtside Films.
It's that hot time of the season again for Duke basketball recruiting, and Blue Devil Nation will be in the thick of things to bring our paying members all the latest from the trail. BDN Premium is our extended subscription service, which features a private message board and hands-on coverage of the basketball and football programs, both the recruiting and the actual team beat itself. To bring you timely and accurate inside information, we believe one has to be there, right in the middle of the action. And we are.
Starting today, members will be treated to updates as they happen from the City of Palms Basketball Tournament, which is loaded with the nation's top prospects, including Jahlil Okafor, a center that Duke is very interested in. Okafor is a Chicago native, as is another name that is on the tip of everybodys tongue, Jabari Parker. The multi-talented forward from Simeon High will make his collegiate decision tomorrow afternoon, and there is more than a little buzz surrounding his commitment. Members can get BDN's collective thoughts on the matter. And our opinions should count for something, for as a BDN Team we've had numerous interviews with Parker (which you can see in our archives) and more in-person opportunities to watch him play than we can count. With the holiday season coming up, give the gift of BDN Premium or just give it to yourself and join a site that will give you one of the most Duke-centric experiences you can get.
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There is a new name on the Duke radar and his name is Ricardo Gathers, a manly 6-7 presence in the post who hails from Louisiana where he plays for Riverside Academy. Gathers, who was set to go to St. John's but backed out of his verbal commitment and reopened the process. A couple of big name schools are now on him and Gathers tells us about that and much more in this one on one interview conducted by BDN correspondent Travis Boyd. And when asked of Duke, Gathers made it no secret that he hold immense respect for the program and that he is ... well, it all lies ahead. Remember, we are still running a 20% off special on a yearly membership to Blue Devil Nation Premium, where all the latest inside information awaits you as does our members only message board to discuss the latest. Just sign up for a year and we'll send you 20 bucks back through paypal. Isn't it time to see BDN Premium for yourself and see what others are talking about?
Suppose somebody had never seen you play before. How would you describe your game in your own words?
Very physical, a lock down on D. I'm a rebounding factor and I like playing with my teammates man and as I go, I know they go, so ...
What are you looking for in a program. What are some of the most important factors?
I want to play with somebody that is a winner and a coach who brings out the best in me and communicates with me and make me a better player.
What's your list of schools right now?
Baylor, Duke, N.C. State, Florida, LSU, St. Johns and USC and Cal.
Which schools or who has been the most aggressive in your recruitment of late? [private]
Billy Donovan of Florida and Duke.
Who have you talked to from Duke?
Um, I don't want to get his name wrong (smiling) Wojichowski ... I'm not sure how to say his name.
Yeah, yeah, that's him.
So what do you like about Duke?
I mean, Duke you know, the tradition at Duke (upbeat) and they've developed many players at my position and they have one of the best coaches in America and the history in college basketball ... I mean, whats not to like about Duke?
So, do you sit down and take a look at the rosters of the teams recruiting you and look at say who is coming, leaving and such?
I definitely looking at the roster because I don;t want to go nowhere where I'm sitting for four years and stuff so, (smiling) yeah, I'm looking and analyzing what they need and find the best place for me.
Do you pattern your game after any player in the NBA or college?
(Pause) Uhm, no, not really. At this point I'm just mold myself to be my on type of player. I'm just trying to keep it together and keep working and be the best Ricardo Gathers that I can be.
With this being your senior year, what part of your game will you work on the rest of the year?
Being more efficient at both ends of the court. I mean yesterday, I couldn't always go all out on the offensive end because I knew I had to bring it on D. So that is definitely is what I am going to do and work on conditioning,
Do you have any visits set up in the near future?
I'm probably going to take a few visits in the upcoming year, like January or February. Probably mid January is when I will start some visits. I am going to definitely go down to Florida soon, Duke and N.C. State.
What position do you see yourself playing at the next level?
Most likely the 4 and the 3.
And who will help you make your decision when it comes time to pick a school?
Definitely my high school coach and my family.
Is their a timetable on your decision?
I'm definitely going to wait until signing day.
Alright man, I appreciate your time.
Thank you. [/private]
The Holiday tournaments are in full swing from now until the new year and Blue Devil Nation Premium is representing. While I was covering the Blue Devils win over UNC-Greensboro laast evening, our newest deep south correspondent, Travis Boyd, was in Florida for the City of Plams event. We were simaltanously tweeting for BDN loves being in two places at once and on the scene of all things Duke.
Most of the information goes to BDN Premium, like our latest interview with Ricardo Gathers but here is a breakdown of last evenings action in the sunshine state -
Two of Duke's primary targets for 2012 and 2013 went off for big games tonight. Both played with a chip on their shoulder and were competitive with each other from the opening tip. Shabazz Muhammad faced off againat Julius Randle as Prestonwood took on Bishop Gorman. The entire Kentucky staff was in attendance for the game as were assistants from UConn, Michigan., Ohio State and Georgetown.
Randle was in aggressive mode hollering "all day" and "get off me" every time he would make a move to the basket. Muhammad woke up in the 2nd half, 4th quarter especially. He finished the game with 42 points and 5 rebounds and scored in every way imaginable, be it put-backs, big time dunks, jumpers, floaters, and hook shots. There is nothing Muhammad can't do on the offensive end.
Randle had an all around solid game with 26pts 10rbs and 5ast. Randle showed a much imporoved handle in this game and is developing a scary good jump shot off an at times dizzying crossover. As he displayed Saturday also, his ability to pass is far beyond other bigs in high school. He wowed the crowd by running the fast break a few times. Simply said, these prospects can play at another level that most.
In the end, Prestonwood scorec a big 72-63 win. The action continues today and live updates will be on the BDN Premium Members Message Board as they happen. Also coming are more interviews with key Duke prospects and talk of the national scene. Worth noting is the fact that another prospect, Jabari Parker went for a school record 40 points and 15 rebounds last evening.
So take advantage of our 20% off on a yearly rate which is our lowest price ever through Christmas and stay informed! At 80 bucks for the entire year and full site access, we are talking 22 cents a day here for some of the best information available and as always it's way ahead of the curve. Team BDN has assembled a very talented and in the know staff and we're ready to take you into the new year with us, so get off the fence and join today!