Since losing to Lehigh in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has wasted little time on the recruiting trail. Last week, Krzyzewski had in-home visits with 2012 post players Tony Parker and Amile Jefferson.
Parker’s recruitment will finally come to close April 11, when he announces his college decision. Despite contradicting reports and speculation, Duke is still very much in the mix to land the 6-foot-9 Georgia product, though the Blue Devils are not thought to be the favorite. Parker will decide between Georgia, UCLA, Ohio State, Kansas and Duke. Parker’s announcement will take place one day after the second ranked player in 2012, Shabazz Muhammad, chooses his school.
Few expected Jefferson to still be uncommitted at this point. Since visiting Duke for the North Carolina game, Jefferson has yet to give any indication as to when a decision will be made. North Carolina State and Duke are the perceived leaders.
Parker, Jefferson, Muhammad and Duke signee Rasheed Sulaimon are all in Chicago this week for the McDonald’s All American Game. Players will begin practicing Monday against one another and will closely watched by numerous recruiting analysts, as well as NBA scouts. The prestigious all-star game will be played Wednesday, tipping off at 9:30 ET on ESPN2. Jefferson and Parker will be on the East team, while Muhammad and Sulaimon will play alongside one another for the West team. Future North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige is also on the West team.
After traveling to Atlanta and Philadelphia to visit Parker and Jefferson respectively last week, Krzyzewski and his staff hosted Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler for an official visit over the weekend. Zeigler, a 6-foot-5 versatile guard, reportedly holds a scholarship offer from the Duke coaching staff. Zeigler will apply for the NCAA hardship waiver and attempt to gain eligibility this upcoming season because Central Michigan fired his father and head coach, Ernie Zeigler. If he chooses Duke, Zeigler would give the Blue Devils a versatile defender on the wing that can also penetrate effectively off the dribble. UCLA and Michigan are both re-recruiting Zeigler as well.
Another transfer that has the Blue Devil fan base intrigued is Connecticut’s Alex Oriakhi, who is leaving because of the Huskies NCAA tournament ban next year. Connecticut is appealing the NCAA ruling and if they lose then Oriakhi will be eligible for the 2012-13 college basketball season. Oriakhi has not officially been released by Connecticut yet, so at this point it is unknown if there is mutual interest between Oriakhi and Duke. The hard-nosed, 6-foot-9 post would undoubtedly provide the Blue Devils some much-needed toughness in the paint next season, especially if Mason Plumlee enters the draft. Oriakhi, a New Hampshire native, committed to Connecticut as an underclassman in high school, so it’s difficult to know what other schools he was interested in.
Turning the attention to the class of 2013, Tyrone Outlaw of Roxboro, North Carolina is a new name rumored to be on Duke’s recruiting radar. Outlaw is a 6-foot-6 small forward who predicates his game on defense and rebounds at a very high level for his position. The Blue Devil coaching staff will likely further evaluate Outlaw this spring and summer.
Seeking a new coaching staff, Illinois has reportedly contacted Chicago’s Simeon high school head basketball coach, Robert Smith, about becoming an assistant coach for the Illini. Smith coaches the top ranked player in 2013, Jabari Parker, so the move to get him on the staff would seemingly help the Illini’s chances of landing one of the better high school basketball players in recent memory. Smith, however, is not expected to leave Simeon for the position.