Deviled Eggs: June 14th, 2010

Every Monday morning, Crazie Talk culls Duke basketball news, articles, and videos into a half dozen of the best “Deviled Eggs” on the interwebs.

Here are this week’s best.

Nolan, Seth, and Kyle impress at CP3 Elite Guard Camp

Chris Paul hosts this annual event for the best high school and college guard prospects in the country. Duke was represented well, as Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, and Seth Curry were the cream of the crop at the event.

Nolan was all smiles at the prospect of next year’s team. In Mr. Smith’s words, “we’re gonna be loaded.” You can check out interviews with Kyle and Seth as well.

Coach K Academy

Coach K’s annual fantasy camp attracted ESPN’s own Gene Wojciechowski. The camp, which also features former Duke stars as camp coaches, allows for an immersion into Duke Basketball for old folks willing to drop a few grand.

ACC reshuffling?

A well written piece describing the potential repercussions of Nebraska’s move into the Big 10 (Big 12 now I guess). Could Duke potentially be shifting conferences?

Brian Zoubek at 76ers Camp

How good is Brian Zoubek? The 7-footer recently showed off his constantly improving game for the 76ers at their training camp.

Coach K Makes Bank

Coach K- bringing newfound meaning to “Get money, get paid.”

Quincy Miller- Getting Buckets

Finally, check out this new mixtape with highlights of some of the top high-school ballers from across America at Nike EYBL. Duke-recruit Quincy Miller holds the spotlight from 1:38 – 2:10, and he does not disappoint. For even more coverage of Quincy “Youngtruth” Miller from EYBL, check out this video.

Five Recruiting Stories to Follow

On January 8, top 30 small forward Roscoe Smith shocked no one in committing to the Connecticut Huskies, the program that made him a priority from day one. While eliciting groans from Duke fans who had cautiously hoped that Smith would choose the Blue Devils, it was far less devastating than Harrison Barnes’ unexpected choice to be one of Roy’s Boys. I personally expected Smith to be the final target, and if he chose elsewhere, for our already stellar three-man class to be finalized.

Luckily, Coach K’s new (and welcome) “wide-net” recruiting strategy is craftier than I thought. 2010 is still wide open. Here are some players and stories to follow this spring and beyond.

1. Carrick Felix: Out of Nowhere

Felix is a super-athletic small forward at the College of Southern Idaho. Never heard of it? That’s because it’s a junior college (and it’s in Idaho). Duke’s staff, particularly assistant Nate James, has been in touch with Felix for several weeks now about visiting Duke this spring. Recruiting JuCo players is new territory for Coach K, and may seem dangerous to the casual observer, as many kids end up at these schools due to academic issues. Felix reportedly has no such issue with grades. He comes from a military family and apparently is very disciplined and hard working. As it stands, his only official offers come from Kent State and Idaho, although bigger names have been knocking of late. Making the jump to a national powerhouse like Duke would be a dream come true for Felix, and would help improve his skill set to match an NBA-level athleticism. Moreover, his size (6’6”) and defensive prowess could earn him playing time immediately on a team lacking at small forward—particularly if Kyle Singler goes pro.

If all goes well with admissions,  I think Felix is the player most likely to join Irving, Thornton, and Hairston in this class.

2. Terrence Ross: Villain to Hero?

Terrence Ross, scout’s number 21 shooting guard, had committed to ACC foe University of Maryland in April 2009. But the New Year brought Ross’ decision to re-open his recruitment. Since then, several high major programs (Kansas and Kentucky join Duke) have offered Ross in an attempt to provide a last-minute boost to their recruiting classes. In a recent interview with HighSchoolHoop, Ross stated that he felt he had made he decision too soon and jumped at the opportunity to play in the ACC. At the time, Maryland was the only conference squad to offer him. Now that that’s changed, Duke could possibly be his final destination.

Unlike Carrick Felix, a relatively off the radar player, Ross’ talent has been well documented as a rising star at Rockville, Md.’s Montrose Christian, a perennial powerhouse. He’s extremely explosive and possesses a sweet, Dre-like jumper from 3-point land. Ross decided to take the ’09 summer off from AAU play to focus on personal improvement—a mature decision not always made by other high schoolers. This extra work, along with a a stellar senior season at Montrose should pay off and move him up  in the final rankings.

So what are Duke’s chances? The X-factor here could be Josh Hairston, Ross’ teammate at Montrose and longtime member of our 2010 class. Ross mentioned that Hairston has been talking to him about Duke for a while now. Moreover, our success in recruiting DMV-area players has been staggering over the past several years—Smith, Dawkins, Hairston and Thornton all hail from that area. Ross could provide instant offense with his shotmaking ability and athleticism. Let’s hope Maryland’s loss is our gain.

3. What’s up with Quincy Miller?

In the past few months, rumors have floated freely about 2011 star power forward Quincy Miller, many fueled by his often hilarious and rarely serious Twitter account. Most of the college-related content boils down to a heap of praise for two schools: Duke and Kentucky (although my favorite comes during UNC’s recent loss to Georgia Tech: “Haha so UNC is getting blasted again? Wow”).

Miller has visited both Kentucky and Duke for games—including an appearance behind the bench on Sunday night for the Wake blowout. (side note: a certain C-T member made a sign for Q: ‘We Want the Young Truth,’ which is Miller’s nickname. He liked it.)

Some Duke fans anticipated an early commitment from Miller. He’s established a legitimate relationship with the coaching staff and has a world of respect for Coach K. But he is also enjoying the attention of many high major programs, especially Coach Calipari’s hype machine at Kentucky. In an era of Skyped commitments and unreal expectations, it’s actually refreshing for me to see a player enjoy the recruiting process and explore his options. I expect Miller to hold off on making a decision for a while. He’s a terrific player, and one worth waiting for. Hopefully he chooses the right, um, shade of royal blue when that time comes.

4. The Rivers Runneth to Durham?

Austin Rivers just seems like a Duke kid. Good hoops genes? Check: his father coaches a certain Boston professional sports dynasty and his brother Jeremiah is a starter at Indiana. Penchant for the big stage? Check: he dropped 46 to lead Winter Park over 16th ranked Wheeler in December. A solid writer (think Redick’s poetry)? Yep. He writes a diary for HighSchoolHoop.

As most recruitniks know, Rivers verbally committed to the homestate Florida Gators over a year ago. But at the suggestion from Doc he decided to check out other schools. Well, just one school actually. And that was Duke.

The thought of Austin teaming up with Irving, Dawkins, Curry, and Thornton in our 2011-12 backcourt makes me salivate. At 6’4” Austin has the size to dominate smaller guards coupled with the quickness to blow by taller players. He has an unconventional but effective jumper that he releases snappily, making it almost impossible to guard. Sometimes he looks like a more disciplined And-1 star. He’s the real deal and a unanimous top-5 recruit in 2011. See video evidence here.

This is one of the best recruiting stories of the year, and of particular interest to people who have followed Duke recruiting for a while. Many fans felt stunted by current Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton chose the Gators over Duke two years ago. While Boynton was never committed to Duke, the general consensus was that he favored the Devils until Billy Donovan made an excellent sales pitch (that may or may not have included Nerf guns) and wooed him to Florida.

If Rivers decides to come to Duke, it would certainly feel like vindication for the Boynton fiasco. Rivers plans to be at the UNC game in Cameron—let’s show him that the best basketball is played in the ACC.

Side-note: Rivers recently injured his ankle in a game against Gonzaga and Tyler Thornton. We wish him a full and speedy recovery so he can be back dunking on people (see the video).

5. Or could it be Zeigler?

The aforementioned “wide net” strategy is in full effect at Duke. The recruitment of Trey Zeigler, a standout shooting guard from Mt. Pleasant, Mich. is further evidence that the coaching staff is no longer content targeting a handful of players per year.

Like Felix and Ross, Zeigler would provide a boost in the middle. He has size at 6’5,” a powerful body, and a solid outside jumper. He is also taking over point guard duties this high school season, which will improve his ballhandling and leadership—two qualities valued at Duke.

Assistant coach and former physical glue guy Nate James is taking the lead on Zeigler’s recruitment: he and Coach K visited Zeigler last week. Zeigler could play a similar role as James, a key component of our 2001 National Championship squad.

Zeigler may be the longshot of this group—he is very keen on Michigan, UCLA, and Michigan State. If he chooses Duke, he’d likely contribute in his first season. And we’d have another ‘Z’ to cheer for. Win win.

To Conclude…

Wow, doesn’t if feel nice to be optimistic this late into a recruiting process? As crushed as we all were about Barnes’ choice—which was difficult to say the least—it seems to have lit a fire under the coaching staff. The competitive fire that smolders in Coach K has erupted, and our recruiting will only benefit. Adding one or more of Felix, Ross or Zeigler will boost next year’s already loaded squad to even further heights. Watch out, Roy.

One more thing: I can’t get enough of Irving. K1 is a future superstar.


Crazie-Talk aspires to cover all aspects of Duke Basketball, including recruiting.  If you have any news you’d like us to cover in more depth, send us an e-mail at email@crazie-talk.com.







A Recruiting Whirlwind

Over the past few years,  Blue Devil fans bemoaned the near-misses and shocking twists that came to characterize Duke recruiting. But this was not always the case.

As many fans can recall, Duke enjoyed a recruiting “renaissance” in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that resulted in five consecutive (1997-2001) and six overall ACC Regular Season Titles, five consecutive ACC Tournament Championships (1999-2003), four consecutive seasons ranked No. 1 in the  final AP poll (1999-2002), three Final Fours (1999, 2001, 2004), and the 2001 National Championship.

But the mighty did finally fall, even if what Duke has achieved in the past few years outranks a vast majority of Division I programs. One can mark the genesis of the recruiting struggles in 2004 – with the three man recruiting class of Shaun Livingston, Demarcus Nelson, and David McClure. Livingston was a prep phenomenon—many called him the prototype point guard of basketball’s next generation. Boasting a height of 6’7”, a fantastic passing game, and innate leadership skills, Livingston was the next great Duke floor general. That is, until he declared for the NBA Draft, and left a loaded Duke team weakened at the most important position. Livingston would later suffer a devastating knee injury, derailing what looked to be a promising professional career.

Since then, many highly-touted recruits have either spurned Duke (despite previously praising us) or not panned out (despite high expectations and rankings). Greg Monroe broke hearts by attending Georgetown (although he floundered in Cameron this past year) and Kenny Boynton decided to stay in his home state of Florida. Former Tar Heel Brandan Wright seriously considered Duke (after Kentucky, of course) before crossing over to the light blue side (It should be noted that since leaving after his freshman campaign, he has played in only 77 games in two years in the NBA). Meanwhile, Greg Echenique declined to follow fellow Garden State native Lance Thomas’ path to Durham, electing to attend Rutgers instead (?!).  To be certain, Duke has known pain on the recruiting trail for several years now—and fans have rationally theorized that the sub par recruiting has led to lackluster performance in March. Actually, it guarantees fewer wins and disappointment in the postseason (see: Josh McRoberts). It’s a natural law, like Bernoulli’s principle or whatever.

In that murky light, the revamped recruiting efforts of the last 6 months have quickened the heart rates of Blue Devils nationwide. Instead of targeting a select few recruits and praying for their commitments, Coach K and the coaching staff have adopted the tried and true “wide net” strategy. The practice is simple: get in touch with several elite players at each needed position. When a relationship is firmly established, and said player understands that he may need to compete for minutes in the rotation, extend an offer of scholarship. At worst, the player loses interest and chooses another school. At best, the group of players develops camaraderie and appreciates the competitive nature of their recruitment. They get excited at the team’s potential. Several of them commit and compose a highly talented and touted class. Championships ensue, and benches are set ablaze on the West Campus quad.

So what are the fruits of this labor? Duke landed Andre Dawkins in June 2008, with Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton following a few months later. Dawkins, a Duke fan since childhood, has already added to his legend by enrolling early and strengthening this year’s guard core. Hairston and Thornton are eager to join him in two seasons. Moreover, Duke has a reasonably high chance of landing both Harrison Barnes (who plans to visit canpus on October 23rd) and Kyrie Irving (September 18th), two top-10 players in 2010, as well as Baltimore-area prospect Roscoe Smith. We have also been in contact with three other top point guards: Brandon Knight, Ray McCallum Jr., and Joe Jackson. Although it’s improbable and/or impossible to land all of these players, the new strategy instills hope in our upcoming classes, rather than anxiety at what they may lack.

More recently (especially within the past two weeks), Duke has been involved with standout athletes from the junior and sophomore high school classes. 2011 power forwards Quincy Miller and Marshall Plumlee (yes, the youngest brother of Miles and Mason) have been offered scholarships, and Class of 2012 standout J.P. Tokoto received a scholarship offer on Tuesday, August 25th after separating himself from the pack at the High Performance Camp this past weekend. Duke has also contacted several other elite recruits in the 2011 class, including shooting guard Bradley Beal, point guard Quinn Cook, and power forward James McAdoo. Each player on Duke’s list is a major national prospect, armed with offers from elite programs. Duke fits firmly in that category—there is no reason to settle for less than the best recruits.

Coach K and the coaching staff have sent a clear message: the proverbial “eggs” will no longer be in only a select few baskets. By actively recruiting a surplus of prospects, Duke is acting confidently and adapting to changes in prep basketball. This aggressive approach should allow Duke to once again redefine the upper echelon of college basketball in the near future.

The recruiting lilt of the past 5 years directly correlates with our relative slip over the past 5 years. It’s time for that tide to turn.