Way back in January, we talked about five of the biggest recruiting story lines to follow throughout the spring. Back then, Carrick Felix was still being recruited and Maryland de-commit Terrence Ross was still a viable wing option for 2010. Yet we remained optimistic about the state of Duke recruiting.
Well, following that post we won 17 of our last 18 games en route to the 2010 National Championship. So yeah. Optimism abounds these days.
As the summer winds down, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories to follow this fall into the early signing period.
1. Will Austin Rivers be a Blue Devil after all?
Rivers has had a huge summer, despite the fact that he played relatively few AAU events. Austin played for Each One Teach One at a few Nike EYBL events. A major chunk of his time, however, was spent with the Team USA U-18 squad, which included Duke freshmen Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston at the FIBA Americas Championship (which we live-blogged here). Rivers took home MVP honors after leading the team in scoring with an unbelievable 101 points in 115 total minutes. Those 101 points included a streak of nine—that’s right, nine—made three pointers in a row. Sounds like a Blue Devil to me.
Rivers has stated that he plans on taking official visits to Duke, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky this fall. In the same journal entry, Austin said that he plans on announcing his decision in December. Despite some heavy hitters in Rivers’ rotation, Duke fans should have little to fear. Austin’s last visit to Duke was in April for the annual team banquet, which celebrated this year’s Championship team. Having been there ourselves, we can certainly tell you that there are very, very few places that could have impressed him as much as Duke did that night. Take that to the bank.
(Correction: Rivers may be deciding earlier than December. Who knows these things, really. But keep an eye out.)
2. What’s Cook-ing?
There has been a lot of talk in the last few months of Kyrie Irving—Duke’s best point guard prospect in a decade—leaving Durham after just a year. Irving has been hotter than a habanero pepper with scouts in the last few months, with speculative draft watchers like NBADraft.net placing him second in the 2011 draft. Duke thrives under expert floor generals; if Irving does end up leaving, it’s natural to look toward the next few recruiting classes to see what kind of prospects there are. Near the top of the 2011 board sits Quinn Cook.
First of all, Cook is not on the same level as Irving. He’s shorter, not as quick, and hasn’t yet shown the ridiculous intelligence that makes Kyrie so fun to watch. But that shouldn’t count him out as an important Blue Devil prospect. Here are some facts, you know you like facts.
Quinn has shown himself to be more of a distributor than go-to scorer thus far. He led the USA U-17 team to a gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in Europe this summer, logging 7.8 assists per game. More impressive, perhaps, was Cook’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.45 (59 assists versus 24 TO’s). He started all eight games, and played more minutes than heralded Kentucky commit Marquis Teague. These are data that prove something. As a junior, Cook was named D.C.’s All-Met Player of the Year in 2009-10, beating out our own Tyler Thornton (as well as UNC’s Kendall Marshall and Indiana Hoosier Victor Oladipo). Next year, he’ll transfer from national power DeMatha Catholic to national power Oak Hill Academy, the same school that produced two of the best ACC guards of the past five years: Tywon Lawson and Nolan Smith (Smith, by the way, is one of Cook’s closest friends).
So what does that little piece of expository writing say? Quinn Cook is worthy, hell, more than that. We’re going to be spoiled next year by Kyrie Irving, the kind of talent (and positive attitude) that pops up once in a John Wall. But if and when Irving goes pro, we’d be lucky to have a young gun like Cook fill his slot.
3. Would Tyler Adams pull a Felix?
One of the first major “we’ve made it” moments after the recent National Title was the commitment of Mississippi giant man Tyler Adams. That benefit, it seems, may be getting itself windfall-profits-taxed.
A week ago, perhaps-reputable Mississippi State fansite BulldawgJunction.com reported that Adams may be wavering in his commitment to the Blue Devils, and that the ‘Dawgs are still an option. Also, perennial losers Georgetown are still recruiting him post-commitment (I wonder how these guys feel about that). Message boards went wild, flustering about potential academic issues and the name of erstwhile here today, gone tomorrow dude Carrick Felix was thrown around a few times. (Sidebar: Georgetown hasn’t secured a commitment from anyone in the 2011 or 2012 classes since they beat the living daylights out of the eventual National Champions in January. They also flamed out to Ohio—yes, Ohio—in the first round of what was to be our tournament. Schadenfreude. End sidebar.)
Update (11:45am, 8/11/10): Apparently Georgetown has really been in contact. No surprises there.
I know nothing about Tyler’s grades, and even if I did, that’s not really my business, or any fan’s at this point. What I do know is that Facebook, bastion of new media resourcefulness, is saying “don’t worry, it’s going to be alright.” In Adams’ current profile picture, he is wearing a massive Duke Basketball shirt. He has said on that same website that his lack of certainty is just ‘a rumor.’ I also learned that Adams likes to post his statuses in all caps.
Until any further info comes down the pipe, that’s what this is: A rumor, probably trumped up by some Mississippian in twelve dollar overalls scraping barbecue sauce out from under his fingernails down at “The Junction.” Forgive my humor, entire SEC.
4. Is all hope lost for Miller?
Oh, Quincy. You’re so close, yet so far away.
This blog has developed an attachment to 2011 superstar Quincy Miller over the past year. After Miller attended Duke’s inaugural elite camp in 2009, hope burgeoned that Miller may be as interested in Duke as we were in him. What has proceeded since then has been nothing short of a square dance, with Quincy switching dance partners every few months and keeping everyone guessing about his recruitment.
Quincy is a lighthearted kid; anyone who follows his Twitter knows that. He’s also incredibly media savvy, understanding who his audience is (overly rabid college basketball fans) and having a good time keeping everyone out of the know. But here’s what we do know. Quincy is transferring to Westchester Academy in High Point, N.C., the same school that his friend and Elite 24 teammate Quddus “Deuce” Bello has transformed from random Piedmont private school to hoops powerhouse. Their friendship has translated into some, well, interesting YouTube videos. More importantly from our standpoint is that Miller and Bello appear likely to be interested in playing for the same college as well. HighSchoolHoop reported that Quincy and Deuce will visit Louisville on the weekend of September 4th.The Cards, in spite of Rick Pitino’s recent career shaming trial, are building a solid 2011 class led by Chicagoan Wayne Blackshear. If Miller and Bello matriculate as well, L’ville fans may finally be able to exorcise the Demons of Karen Sypher and get back to the Final Four. Maybe.
Miller and Bello are also considering the Big 12’s hottest team, the Baylor Bears. Scott Drew received a commitment from 2012 center Isaiah Austin this week, and we’re highly interested in what Perry Jones can do there next season. That train has no signs of slowing down.
So does Duke figure in this argument anymore? Probably not. Luckily, we already have a strong 2011 class already, with the strong possibility of adding to it. And I will never be able to dislike Quincy Miller—he’s too talented, hilarious, and comically outspoken to anger anyone. If he goes to Louisville, fine. To borrow from the lexicon of the SEC once more, that’d really “stick in the craw” of many University of Kentucky fans.
5. Introducing Rodney Purvis
Somehow this became a very long article. So we’re happy to finish with a short introduction to 2013 point guard monster Rodney Purvis. Hailing from nearby Raleigh, Purvis has already drawn comparisons to John Wall. Look for Duke to investigate Purvis thoroughly as a future guard option. He’s already checking us out, per his Twitter:
For all those not fluent in Twitterese, Purvis will be attending Duke’s Countdown to Craziness on October 15. And it “shouldbefun”.
Here’s some footage of Purvis from this past season. Enjoy.