With the NBPA Top 100 Camp kicking off today in Charlottesville, Va., we took to Twitter from our account @dukebasketball to ask if people had any questions about Duke basketball recruiting. Chronicle recruiting beat writer Brady Buck and sports editor Andrew Beaton answer three of the questions below.
@spooner524 asked, "who is the next recruit closest to signing?"
Brady Buck: There's a difference between signing and committing. The earliest time that the recruits of 2013 can sign is November during the early signing period. I am going to assume you meant to ask, which recruit is closest to committing?
Most of Duke's targets still have long school lists and have not indicated when they plan on making a college decision, so it's tough to answer this question. If anyone is close to committing to Duke, I would guess Austin Nichols. The big man from Memphis has spoken very, very highly of Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke program in interviews throughout the spring. Bear in mind that Nichols committing Duke is far from a sure thing. The 6-foot-9 center has not visited Duke yet and is being heavily pursued by Ohio State, Kansas, North Carolina and Memphis, among many others.
Andrew Beaton: I agree that Nichols is a good bet, though you have to think Memphis has a great shot at him as well, chasing a local guy. But what increasingly amazes me is how difficult it is getting to predict these things--high schoolers have longer and longer lists of offers and seemingly wait longer and longer to commit. And they're able to keep their preferences extremely private. So it can be very difficult to tell what schools on their list they're actually considering or when they're just posturing.
Andrew Beaton: I'd say Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are Duke's top two targets but let's be honest--that's not unique to Duke, these are the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits in the class of 2012. And Duke isn't the only team that's in on both of them. They both have long lists and the same teams pop on both. Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State and Kentucky are all in on both of these prospects. That's not to say all these teams are still in contention, but they've all extended offers.
In fact, I'd say one of the most dissapointing things about this week's NBPA Top 100 Camp is that Randle will not be in attendance. It would've been great to see them on the court at the same time.
Brady Buck: Definitely Andrew, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are Duke's top two targets, as well as every elite program's, since they are the top two players in the class of 2013. I think it's fair to say that the staff has recruited these two longer and harder than anyone else in the class, however, they're also aggressively pursuing several other 2013 prospects. And even though he's just a rising junior, Tyus Jones, the top point guard in the class of 2014, seems to be one of Krzyzewski's biggest priorities too.
I believe that Semi Ojeyele, who just visited Duke recently, has quickly become a guy that the Duke staff really covets. I think in getting to know Ojeyele over the past several weeks and watching him play very well in the Nike EYBL the staff has quickly come to the realization that he would be a perfect fit in Durham. First and foremost, Ojeyele is an outstanding kid, who highly values education, hence his serious interest in Stanford. On the court, he's a powerful 6-foot-6 wing that can get to the rim, shoot proficiently from three-point range and defend multiple positions. Duke could really use his size, strength, athleticism and versatility on the wing.
Brady Buck: I expect Duke to sign 4-5 guys in the class of 2013. College basketball teams are allotted 13 scholarships per year. Duke has 12 recruited scholarship players heading into this season, possibly 13 if Hood commits to the Blue Devils. After the 2012-13 season, Duke will lose Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry and possibly Andre Dawkins. So there could be as many as five scholarships available for the class of 2013.
Matt Jones is already committed to Duke in 2013. At this point, it's very difficult to predict how the class will finish up. Parker and Randle have not given any clues as to where they are leaning and will likely keep everything very close to the vest until they announce, which could be as late as next spring. But if I had to make a prediction today, I think Duke will land Ojeyele, Nichols, and Parker, in addition to Jones for 2013, but this is purely just a guess at this point.
Andrew Beaton: Brady, I think Duke fans would be thrilled if they could land that crew, but I don't think its unrealistic. Even landing two of Parker, Nichols and Ojeyele in addition to Jones would be an extremely strong class. And as you noted in the response to your previous questions Duke has really pushed itself into the forefront of the chase for Ojeyele while Nichols seems like a logical fit as well. Parker is tougher to get a read on but I personally have a strong feeling about him coming here. I think they have a much better shot at him than Randle--I could really see him fitting in as a Blue Devil and making a decision to come here, maybe even in the early signing period, who knows.