In the wake of the July recruiting period, The Chronicle exchanged emails with Drew Cannon of Dave Telep Scouting Services and Basketball Prospectus to get his take on the state of Duke recruiting. Cannon laid out who he believes are Duke's biggest targets in the next three classes, offering a brief breakdown on each before assessing the chances that player ends up in Durham.
Class of 2012 (All rankings from ESPN)
Rasheed Sulaimon (6-foot-3, 175 lbs; No. 20 overall, No. 5 shooting guard) — Duke's first, and only, commitment in the Class of 2012.
Tony Parker (6-foot-9, 270 lbs; No. 25 overall, No. 8 power forward) — Big man who has legit size and touch around the rim. He consistently lists Duke with his favorites and holds a scholarship offer.
Shabazz Muhammad (6-foot-6, 215 lbs; No. 3 overall, No. 1 small forward) — At the end of the summer, it’ll be tough to find a scouting service who doesn’t rank him #1 or #2 overall (with Andre Drummond). He’s overwhelmingly agreed to be the most productive scorer in the class, and he holds the third Duke scholarship offer. UCLA looks to be the leader with UNLV and Kentucky as dark horses. Muhammad is too good, though, for the Blue Devils not to ride out his recruitment on the off chance they can sign him.
Mitch McGary (6-foot-10, 225 lbs; No. 4 overall, No. 1 power forward) — He’s a hard-working beast of a post who made the biggest rankings jump of anyone in the spring. His recruitment is wide open, but Duke’s interest is noted.
Adam Woodbury (6-foot-11, 225 lbs; No. 57 overall, No. 12 center) — The out-of-nowhere (but deserving) MVP of a loaded NBA Players Camp in late June, Woodbury went from sleeper forward to national name. He’s got great hands and a full arsenal of post moves. Both sides are interested.
Anthony Bennett (6-foot-8, 230 lbs; No. 46 overall; No. 12 power forward) — Bennett’s trajectory is very similar to Woodbury’s. He made the leap from high-major prospect to burgeoning star at NBA Camp. Like McGary, Bennett is wide open but consistently names Duke as one of the many players in his recruitment.
Perry Ellis (6-foot-8, 220 lbs; No. 19 overall, No. 7 power forward) — Ellis is a forward whose recruitment probably started earlier than any other player in the Class of 2012. The Duke coaching staff wasn't as prominent at his games in the back half of July, so the assumption is that interest is tapering on one side or the other.
Rodney Purvis (6-foot-4, 185 lbs; No. 7 overall, No. 1 shooting guard) — The top in-state guard prospect since John Wall, former Louisville commit Purvis lists Duke, NC State, and Missouri as his finalists. His recruitment seems to be moving away from Duke, although it's unclear whether it's Purvis or the coaching staff pulling away.
Alex Poythress (6-foot-7, 215 lbs; No. 17 overall, No. 3 small forward) — A long stretch forward from Tennessee, the timing of Duke's recent scholarship offer to Poythress caused a minor controversy. Already a strong rebounder and a big-time athlete, he spent the summer flashing newly extended range and improved ballhandling. His recruitment appears to be wide open.
Class of 2013
Jabari Parker (6-foot-8, 220 lbs; No. 2 overall, No. 1 small forward) — It doesn’t take much searching to find writers saying frighteningly optimistic things about Parker. It’s generally agreed upon that the best three players in high school right now are Parker, Julius Randle (below), and fellow 2013 recruit Nerlens Noel (though it’s looking like 2014 is even more loaded). Duke’s the team to beat here, though it’s nowhere close to over.
Julius Randle (6-foot-9, 225 lbs; No. 1 overall) — And, even after all those things I said about Parker, I’d still bet Randle came out on top in 2013 if you polled recruiting experts. It’d be awfully close. Randle can go anywhere he wants; Duke is part of anywhere.
Bronson Koenig (6-foot-2, 175 lbs; No. 46 overall, No. 7 point guard) — This one came more recently, but Duke was bringing the full staff to watch Koenig at the end of the month. He’s a smart passer and ballhandler with an absolutely gorgeous jump shot. High on Duke’s 2013 hit list.
Brannen Greene (6-f00t-7, 200 lbs; No. 15 overall, No. 4 shooting guard) – Greene’s a high potential shooting guard who consistently mentions Duke as interesting.
Chris Walker (6-foot-10, 185 lbs; No. 4 overall, No. 2 power forward) — Sky’s the limit for Walker, even if it hasn’t all come together just yet. Duke isn’t among the leaders as of now, but Walker mentioned them as part of a long list recently.
Class of 2014
Tyus Jones (6-foot-1, 171 lbs; No. 9 overall, No. 2 point guard) – Tyus Jones may be the best high school point guard in the country right now. He can pass, shoot, handle the ball, and lead a team already. There’s a lot of mutual interest here. Duke’s the team to beat.
Theo Pinson (6-foot-5, 170 lbs; No. 1 overall) — Much like Randle, Pinson’s good enough to have early interest from the whole country. Pinson has the added bonus for Duke, though, of being in-state, but as of now a list hasn’t started coming together.