In anticipation of the second full women's basketball season under head coach Kara Lawson, the Blue Zone takes a look at the upcoming recruiting class and more:
2022 recruits Jackson, Koabel impress
The Blue Devils may have lost six players to graduation, but reinforcements are on their way. And recently, they’ve been showing their star potential.
Over the past two weeks, incoming freshmen Ashlon Jackson and Emma Koabel each participated in an elite talent showcase—Jackson in the Jordan Brand Classic, and Koabel in the BioSteel All Canadian Games. Though she jammed her hand midway through the game, Jackson had six points on 2-of-8 shooting, two rebounds, an assist and was blocked twice while starting in Chicago. Defensively, she allowed 3-of-7 from the field for nine points. Koabel played 35 minutes, recording 14 points on 3-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc (2-of-3 from inside), seven rebounds, two assists and four steals against three turnovers.
Jackson, hailing from Sour Lake, Texas, is ranked, on average, as the No. 18 player in the class of 2022, and as high as tenth by ASGR. Koabel ranks No. 81 in ASGR’s rankings and No. 126 in Blue Star’s; though the Ontario native is unranked by ESPN, she rates as Canada's second-best international recruit. Also in Duke’s incoming class is Shay Bollin, a stretch-four from southeast Massachusetts and the No. 34 recruit on average.
Stirrings in the transfer portal
The Blue Devils are going to need more bodies next year, though, and the transfer portal is once again teeming with prospective talent. Head coach Kara Lawson isn’t going to be pulling seven transfers again, but the team’s only players above 6-foot-1 right now are Bollin and Mia Heide, a grad transfer from Tulane. Suffice it to say, Duke is going to be targeting some more bigs.
One no-brainer would have been Jordyn Jenkins, a 6-foot-2 big out of Southern California and the reigning Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year—the sophomore even had Duke as a finalist during her high school commitment two years ago. But she committed to UTSA just Monday. Other options at big include Esmery Martinez (West Virginia), Taylor Jones (Oregon State), Dalayah Daniels (California) and Bella Cravens (Nebraska). The Fuqua School of Business has appealed to grad transfers like Cravens in the past, while Jones and Daniels are both undergraduates majoring in business.
Duke has already added a transfer at center in Heide, and while she’s a good shot-blocker, she played for a Tulane squad that got bounced in the second round of the WNIT and didn’t exactly star there. So, targets like Martinez and Jones may be unrealistic for the Blue Devils, but players like Koi Love (Arizona) and Abi Jackson (Missouri State) could be more feasible.
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