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Coach K eyes top forward

The Killer Bs might be coming back to Durham in 2005.

First, Mike Krzyzewski struck gold with California power forward Jamal Boykin. Then, the Duke coach reached across the Atlantic to secure a verbal commitment from London center Eric Boateng. This weekend, Krzyzewski will try to complete the second version of the Killer Bs when Snohomish, Wash., power forward Jon Brockman comes to town for an official visit.

“[Duke] likes his athletic ability, and they really like his character,” said Brockman’s coach Len Bone, adding that the Duke coaching staff had contacted him about Brockman as early as April. “At his age, he understands what’s important and keeps things in the right perspective.”

That character, coupled with Spartan work ethic, has made Brockman an ideal target for the Blue Devils, who covet a blue-collar inside player.

The 6-foot-7 Brockman, who averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds per game last season, has narrowed his options down to Duke, UCLA and Washington, all of which have offered him scholarships. Bone said that Brockman’s decision will likely come in the near future.

“Several coaches throughout the whole recruiting process have said he works right up there with the best in the country and may be the best,” Bone said. “I don’t think with Jon that he knows any other way to do it than to give everything he has.”

As a result, Brockman has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s most aggressive and relentless players.

“He’s an outstanding rebounder,” Bone said, putting particular emphasis on the word “outstanding”. “He runs the floor extremely well; he’s a very well-conditioned guy.”

Over the summer, Brockman’s hard work not only earned him billing as one of the nation’s top rebounders, but it also caught the attention of future Blue Devils Greg Paulus and Josh McRoberts, who currently made up the Blue Devils’ recruiting class of 2005 along with Boykin and Boateng.

After playing with Paulus on an international team in France and meeting McRoberts at the USA Development Festival over the summer, Brockman has developed a good friendship with his possible future teammates.

“We’ve had great chemistry playing together,” Paulus said. “He plays hard, he’s smart, he’s fundamentally sound and he’s a winner. He’s a Duke kind of kid.”

Likewise, McRoberts had a ringing endorsement for his fellow big man.

“He’s a really hard worker, a really athletic player,” McRoberts said. “He’s going to help any team that he’s on at any level.... He’d be a great addition.”

Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, however, some have speculated that he is leaning toward playing on the West Coast. That would give UCLA and Washington a significant advantage over Duke.

Brockman, however, downplayed those rumors after receiving his scholarship offer and trimming his list of possible destinations to three schools. “They’re all good picks to me,” Brockman said.“ I’ve never been to Duke before so I could fall in love with it or I could not like it, I have no clue what’s going to happen.”

Brockman’s brother Paul reiterated his feelings, indicating that he had no clear leader in his recruiting process. “He hasn’t visited all the schools,” said Paul, who played with his brother for three year at Snohomish High School. “You can’t really say you have a favorite when you don’t know everything about the school.”

After this weekend, however, Brockman will know everything about all three schools.

“ He’s always said he’s going to decide sometime this fall, and I think that’s what he’s working toward,” Bone said. “I would guess [he will decide] within the next three weeks.”

If all goes well for Krzyzewski this weekend, that decision could complete one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.

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