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Coach K targets class of 2006

Although Duke’s recruiting efforts for this year’s incoming freshman class recently ended, men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski has already made significant inroads in securing his class of 2006.

Duke’s attempt to bring a sixth member to the class of 2005 ended when swingman Geoff McDermott and power forward Uche Echefu eliminated the Blue Devils from their lists of possible schools, according to recruiting service scout.com.

The drawn-out recruitments, however, have not stopped Krzyzewski from compiling a top-notch list of high school junior targets.

Shooting guard Gerald Henderson appears to be foremost on that list. A 6-foot-5, 195-pound shooting guard, Henderson has narrowed his possible collegiate destinations to Villanova, Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest, said Dan Dougherty, Henderson’s high school coach.

“He hasn’t really expressed [a favorite] one way or the other,” said Dougherty, who added that Henderson might make a decision as soon as the summer. “Until he gets to visit these schools, it’ll be the same way.”

The Duke coaching staff, however, has been keen on the Merion, Pa., native. Henderson led his Episcopal Academy team to a 25-3 record and was among the top two on the team in points, rebounds, assists and charges taken.

A five-star recruit in virtually every ranking, Henderson is the No. 12 player in the class of 2006, according to scout.com. In addition, Henderson is the son of former NBA player Gerald Henderson, who played with Duke associate head coach Johnny Dawkins on the Philadelphia 76ers.

“He’s very impressed with Duke, and I’m sure Duke’s very impressed with him,” Dougherty said. “They have seen him play at least twice, and they have been up to practice, so they know what he’s capable of doing.”

In addition to Henderson, the Blue Devils have offered center Brian Zoubek a scholarship, high school coach Paul Wiedeman said. At 7-foot-1 and 270 pounds, Zoubek could give Duke a strong low-post presence.

“He’s a little different from what [Duke has] had in the past,” Wiedeman said. “That’ll be a challenge for them, to work with a true post player like Brian.”

In addition to his size, Zoubek is a fundamentally sound player on the interior, leading to scholarship offers from schools such as Stanford, Wake Forest and Notre Dame.

Zoubek appears to be reciprocating Duke’s interest, especially after attending the team’s basketball banquet last week. The Blue Devils are among the Haddonfield, N.J. native’s final three schools, along with Stanford and Wake Forest, Wiedeman said.

Zoubek, the No. 15 player in the class of 2006, scored a 1360 on the SAT and should have no problem with the Duke admissions office. His coach said Zoubek could make a verbal commitment during the summer.

Combination guard Jon Scheyer has also narrowed his list of possible destinations to Duke, Illinois, Arizona and Wisconsin, high school coach Dave Weber said. The junior from Illinois, who received one of Duke’s earliest scholarship offers, is expected to make a decision soon.

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