Highly-prized Greg Echenique, a 6-foot-9 center from Danny Hurley's St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., spurned Duke and other traditional powerhouses for in-state Rutgers. He announced his decision to verbally commit to Fred Hill's program Monday after visiting Rutgers' campus Thursday. Echenique was in Cameron Indoor Stadium for Duke's March 8 loss to North Carolina.
Over the years, strangely enough, several coveted New Jersey recruits winded up at Duke instead of Rutgers. Jason Williams famously chose to become a Blue Devil after many had speculated he would remain in the Garden State. Dahntay Jones actually transferred to Duke to join Williams, his pal, after spending two seasons as a Scarlet Knight. Current forward Lance Thomas, another product of St. Benedict's, prolonged his recruiting search until the final days, ultimately opting to travel down to Durham for his college years.
This does, however, continue a more troubling trend for Duke fans. In the last three recruiting cycles, Mike Krzyzewski swung and missed on perhaps the premier frontcourt players: first Brandan Wright (UNC for one season), then Greg Monroe (attending Georgetown next year) and now Echenique, a 5-star recruit.
Krzyzewski has already shored up one commitment for the class of 2009 in 6-foot-10 North Carolina native Mason Plumlee. Two recruits, Elliot Williams and Olek Czyz, will join the team next season.
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