After leading the U.S. National Team to an Olympic Gold Medal in London on Sunday, it's back to the daily grind for Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
As he returns to Duke, Krzyzewski will turn much of his attention to the recruiting class of 2013.
The Blue Devil coaching staff now has a much better idea as to where they stand in the recruitments of 2013 big-men targets Austin Nichols and Marcus Lee.
On Sunday, John Martin of Commercial Appeal in Memphis tweeted that Nichols-- a 6-foot-8 power forward-- is down to Virginia, Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis and Duke. The Memphis, Tennessee product will take official visits to all the schools on his list except Memphis, per another tweet by Martin.
After a strong summer on the AAU circuit, Nichols is now the No. 10 player overall in ESPN.com's class of 2013 player rankings, which can be seen here.
For many college basketball fans, it comes as a bit of surprise to see North Carolina, Ohio State and Kansas absent from Nichols list of prospective schools. All three reportedly had offered the five-star big man. Florida, who was considered a legitimate contender to land Nichols, was also left off of the list, which is likely due to the fact the Gators recently picked up a commitment from five-star power forward Chris Walker.
Last week, Marcus Lee also cut down his list of prospective schools to seven—California, UCLA, Indiana, Duke, Louisville, Kentucky and Kansas.
Of the finalists, Kentucky is thought to be a school that is really coming on strong in Lee’s recruitment, after just recently getting involved. California is another school that is perceived to be one of the favorites to land Lee, largely because of the school's proximity to his home.
In the latest ESPN.com player rankings, Lee checks in as the No. 27 player overall.
Both Lee and Nichols will be playing at the Under Armour Elite 24 game in Venice Beach, California later this month. The final 12 players in the event were announced last week. Fellow Duke targets Justise Winslow (2014), Tyus Jones (2014) and Julius Randle (2013) will also be playing in the game.
The entire roster for the Elite 24 game can be found here.
One of the newer names on Duke’s 2013 recruiting radar is 6-foot-9 Damian Jones. A recent article by Josh Paunil of the National Recruiting Spotlight indicates that Vanderbilt is Jones' “favorite school.” Jones-- the No. 72 player in the newest version of the ESPN.com 2013 player rankings-- has set up official visits to Vanderbilt and Stanford.
After visiting UCLA unofficially, Justise Winslow also traveled to Northern California to unofficially visit Stanford last week, according to a tweet by Evan Daniels of scout.com.
Now that Krzyzewski is back in the states, expect Duke to begin setting up official visit dates with several of their 2013 recruits.
Jabari Parker recruiting speculation: Jabari Parker-- the No. 1 player in the class of 2013 according to ESPN.com-- has not taken the court since the U-17 World Championships due to injury, however, his recruitment has still been one of the hottest topics in the realm of college basketball.
Daniel Poneman, a basketball writer from Chicago, Illinois, has covered Parker for years and seemingly has a pretty good pulse on his recruitment. Recently, Poneman expressed to Larry Vaught in an article that, “I feel strongly that Kentucky is not in serious contention at all,” in regards to Parker's recruitment.
Even though the article is just one person’s take on the recruitment, there may be some validity to the notion that Kentucky is not a serious player in Parker’s recruitment given the likely reclassification of Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 player in the class of 2014. Wiggins plays the same position as Parker and most fans and recruiting gurus feel that Kentucky is in the driver’s seat to land the dynamic 6-foot-7 swingman from Canada, whose brilliant play this summer and scary upside allowed him to dethrone Parker as the best player in high school basketball this summer in the books of many scouts.
Poneman also stated in his article that, “I am still saying Michigan State will get [Parker].”
Spartan fans have been fairly optimistic for quite some time about their chances to land Parker, who could go down in history as the best high school basketball player ever from Chicago.
Krzyzewksi has made Parker an utmost priority for several years now, however, the addition of Rodney Hood and the numerous scholarship offers out to other 2013 wings such as Ishmail Wainright, Robert Hubbs and Semi Ojeleye has made Blue Devil fans question the likelihood of Parker coming to Durham.
At this time, Parker is expected to announce a school before the early signing period in November, however, it is still possible that his recruitment could play out into the spring.