Rasheed Sulaimon to Duke!

Rasheed Sulaimon, Scout.com’s 4th-ranked shooting guard in the Class of 2012, has committed to Duke just a day after witnessing one of the greatest comebacks in the storied Battle of Tobacco Road.  Sulaimon represents the 2nd 5-star recruit Duke has nabbed this week, joining other 2012 phenom Alex Murphy.  There were some rumors last weekend that Sulaimon was going to commit soon, and all of us at C-T were hoping they were true.  We are more than excited to have him join the crew in 2012.

Here’s what he says he has to offer, taken from an interview with Adam Zagoria just prior to his visit:

“I’ll just bring a guy who’s hardworking, who can play pressure defense and is willing to do whatever coach asks me,” he said. “Be a great teammate and a great leader.”

Just like Murphy, Sulaimon is drawing comparisons to two players who have donned Pantone 287: Daniel Ewing and a certain @NdotSmitty.  He is a 6’4’’ smooth-shooting combo guard who possesses both great range and the ability to finish at the hoop.  He brings a ton of energy to the floor and utilizes his quickness and athleticism when getting to the rim.  As ESPN.com describes, he “has all the tools to be a special college player.”  We certainly think so, too.

Sulaimon, who hails from Houston, TX, had also been considering UNC, Texas, and Baylor, among other schools.  Check out some of his highlights below, courtesy of Hardwood Elite.

Once again, another top recruit has committed to play for Coach K and his staff.  As we mentioned in the Murphy article, high school players all over the nation think Duke is hot right now, and rightfully so.  Let’s only hope our success continues into the future.

Analysis: Alex Murphy to Duke

Duke fans woke up to some terrific and unexpected news on Monday morning, just two days before the Tar Heels visit Cameron for the first Battle of Tobacco Road of 2011.

2012 Alex Murphy got comfortable in Cameron Indoor over the summer. (Photo property of Crazie-Talk

Alex Murphy, a highly touted 6’8” small forward from St. Mark’s in Southborough, Mass., gave the Blue Devils a verbal commitment, picking Duke over scholarship offers from Kansas, Florida, Villanova, and yes, North Carolina. Murphy is the first player in the high school class of 2012 to choose Duke, and his commitment helps keep Coach K’s recruiting hot streak going strong.

Conveniently for Blue Devil fans who don’t pay much attention to the rest of college basketball, Murphy’s most appropriate basketball comparisons come from inside the family. Two of his favorite players are Kyle Singler and Mike Dunleavy, Jr.—lanky small forwards with shooting range, high basketball IQ, and deceptive athleticism—and Murphy emulates them on the court.

Recruiting guru Bob Gibbons even gave Murphy a slight nod over Singler in terms of rate of development:

“[Murphy’s] not as physically strong and advanced right now,” Gibbons said, “but compare them at the same level as juniors in high school, I think Alex might get a little higher mark than Kyle.”

When C-T saw him play last summer in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, we noted Murphy’s fearlessness in going to the hoop with either hand, activeness on defense, and ballhandling abilities. Add to that list the ability to dunk over seven footers and posterize Indiana commitments and you have an inkling of what Murphy will bring to Duke. While it’s clear that he needs to improve his strength (which he admits himself), Alex has all the natural talent required for big time college basketball. He’s ranked in the top 20 by most recruiting services, and it’s likely he’ll continue to improve in the next year.

That Murphy chose the Blue Devils over several other big name programs is also heartening. His brother Erik, once a Duke target himself, is now a forward at Florida. The Gators went after little brother hard, but after visiting Duke for the home game against Maryland, Murphy knew where he wanted to play:

“As soon as I got back from there I knew that is where I wanted to be…I didn’t make the call right away, but I knew it was something I needed to discuss with my family and the important people in my life. I just knew that was where I wanted to be.”

If there’s any lingering feeling that Coach K is slipping on the recruiting trail, Murphy’s choice—which came pretty early in the game—should put those fears to rest. After picking up blue chippers Austin RiversQuinn Cook and Marshall Plumlee since the 2010 National Championship, it is clear that high school players—ever trend followers—think Duke is hot right now. Our continued dominance of the ACC and another big run in March will help solidify our rep. The 5-stars will come running.

Enjoy the filthy highlights of Alex Murphy from One Entertainment below. Welcome to Duke, Alex.

It’s Heel Week, everybody. Check back tomorrow for the sequel to the legendary “10 Questions for Ed Davis and Co.” YEEHAW!

Video: Austin Rivers vs. Milton

Future Duke phenom Austin Rivers and his Winter Park (Fl.) team faced off against the nationally ranked Milton (Ga.) Eagles in the Hoops in OverDrive Shootout. Milton boasts tons of Division 1 talent in their senior class: Dai-Jon Parker (committed to Vanderbilt), Julian Royal (Georgia Tech), and Shannon Scott (Ohio State). They also have 2012 wingman Evan Nolte, who is currently ranked #50 in his class by ESPNU, and Shaquille Johnson, who recently lost to Plumlee #3 in the City of Palms dunk contest. There has been some noise surrounding Duke recruiting Nolte, but only time will tell how his recruitment will play out. Milton won the game 75-60 in front of a packed house, beating Winter Park for the 2nd time in a week and a half. Simply put, Rivers got little support from his teammates, as he contributed over half his squad’s points (31 of 60).

Rivers didn’t exactly have the start everyone might have been expecting in the first half. He only had 6 points and didn’t seem to get into an offensive groove—although he did have a nice block on Parker on a fast break. His team trailed 37-25 at the break. In the second half, however, Rivers came to life and showed why he deserves his high ranking. He scored 25 points in the final 2 quarters, raining threes from distance. He had several nice drives to the basket, where he would either finish himself with a variety of moves or pass out to a teammate. Unfortunately, the rest of Winter Park was stifled by Milton’s defense and failed to capitalize on Austin’s dishes.

Conversely, Milton was ready to go on both ends of the floor. They were simply too athletic for Winter Park and dominated from start to finish. The Wildcats pulled close in the 2nd half due to Austin’s amazing play, but his effort was not enough to complete the comeback. Check out the highlights above (part of the ever-growing Austin Rivers mixtape collection), and you’ll see why we’re thrilled to have one more year to watch games in Cameron as Duke undergrads.

Happy New Year from all of us at Crazie Talk! 2010 was a great year for Duke basketball, and we only hope it continues into 2011. Thanks so much for following us the past year, and as always, let us know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions (crazietalk@gmail.com or on our Twitter)

Breaking: Quinn Cook to Duke!

Quinn Cook, shown here on Coach K Court. We can get used to this. (Photo Property of C-T)

Quinn Cook has announced his decision to attend Duke University and become the Devils’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2011.  He joins a class that was already considered to be one of Duke’s strongest in recent memory. He’ll team up with Austin Rivers and Michael Gbinije in the backcourt next year, the mere thought of which makes me want to do this.

Scout.com lists Cook—who also considered playing for UCLA—as a five-star player and the 4th best PG of his class. Over the summer, Crazie-Talk’s Arun had a chance to watch Quinn play at the Tournament of Champions. In his review of the event, Arun had a feeling that Duke would not be a major player in his recruitment.  Good thing his feelings have nothing to do with the staff’s recruiting decisions.

Cook’s recruitment got interesting over the past week. ScoutHoops reported he had added UNC to his list a few hours before ZagsBlog announced Quinn would pick between Duke and UCLA in a matter of days and would abstain from visiting UNC altogether. Whirlwind!

Recruitniks were further mystified by top-flight PG Myck Kabongo’s long-rumored de-commitment from Texas earlier this week. Kabongo said that he wanted to take a further look at Syracuse, UNC, Kentucky, and Duke, along with the Longhorns. Just this morning though, Dave Telep of ESPN.com reported that Myck has decided to re-commit to Rick Barnes and the Texas program. Best of luck to Myck in the future!  We’re just glad he didn’t land over in Chapel Hill.

With Cook now on board for 2011, Duke is poised to field the nation’s best backcourt for two years running. Enjoy the show!

Thanks again, Nolan.

For the umpteenth time in his tenure at Duke, Nolan Smith is to thank for something great happening for Duke Men’s Basketball.

It has been well reported that Quinn and Nolan are godbrothers. Dan Wiederer of The Fayetteville Observer recently wrote a wonderful and inspirational piece on their friendship. If you’re not familiar with this story, spend a few minutes reading that article. Caution: tears alert.

Though they won’t ever play together in college, Quinn’s relationship with Nolan will make the transition from Oak Hill to Duke butter smooth. It will also inform Quinn’s career as Duke’s point guard—the difficulties and triumphs of which Nolan knows well.

Quinn was also a member of the DC Assault AAU program, the same team that has produced literally dozens of current and former NCAA stars, including Michael Beasley, Austin Freeman, Jeff Green…and Nolan Smith. (Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston also played for the Assault. Can you say pipeline?)

Quinn will bring an excellent skill set to Durham when he enrolls in the fall of 2011.  He has great handles and has no issues getting to the basket in traffic. As Arun reported, “there really wasn’t anyone on the opposing team who could contain [Cook.]”

His ability to create both for himself and for his teammates is remarkable.  At the FIBA U17 World Championship, Cook led all players in assists with an impressive 7.4 apg.  Those kinds of stats are certainly welcome in Durham. We love assists.

This year, after transferring from DeMatha Catholic, Cook is playing for Coach Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy, the most storied high school basketball team of the modern era. The Warriors’ unbelievable list of alumni includes Jerry Stackhouse, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Jennings…and high school/NCAA national champion NOLAN SMITH.

(Aside:  Oak Hill also produced Makhtar N’diaye, who some might recall held up a certain sign at the 2009 title game.  Here’s what Crazie-Talk countered with in Indy this past year. Alright, enough snarkiness.)

Cook has made a big impression thus far at Oak Hill. He had 16 points and 7 assists against the Italian Junior National Team and followed with 14 and 15 against Princeton Day three days later. These stats, particularly the assists, indicate Quinn’s ability to recognize the talent around him at Oak Hill. The same concept will apply manifold at Duke, where the talent level is reaching heights unseen since the late 90s.

For this season, Cook will have the opportunity to play with and learn from perhaps the best coach high school basketball has to offer.  And when that’s done, it’ll be off to Duke to learn from the best coach the college game has to offer.

As much as I’d like to give Coach K all the credit for reeling in another amazing guard or give kudos to Mike G or Rivers for starting the domino effect, I’ve got to throw it back to the one, the only, the @ndotsmitty. I can’t wait for more Smith/Cook videos to come out—this time with both of them head to toe in Duke gear.

UPDATE: Here is the video from ESPNU of Quinn’s announcement.

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Here are some highlights that show what Cook will bring to Duke, from our friends over at HardwoodElite.

Scott and Jake contributed to this impassioned piece of expository writing.

Hungry, Humble and Happy

The Duke basketball program has a lot to discuss with recruits.

The world conqueror is back in Durham, and we're ready to put our championship pedigree to its regular litmus test. (Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

Duke has four national titles in the modern era of basketball, a legendary coach whose teams can’t stop winning championships, one of the best academic acumens in the world…and on, and on, and on.

So the Blue Devil coaching staff has a lot of positives to throw out to recruits (and as Andy Katz reported recently, Wojo and Co. didn’t miss a beat while K and Collins were abroad). We have no reason to resort to negative recruiting, the underhanded and illegal tactics that are souring the world of high school sports and obliterating the “ethics” of coaching. That fact is not pompous, it’s not something that will necessarily last forever. For now, it’s just how things are.

But let’s be real–not everyone has the benefits that Duke fans (and really, UNC fans as well) tote to the high ground. Look at Bruce Pearl. How could a man who hops around half naked at a Lady Vols game imitating the Truffle Shuffle also be a base hoops villain with no respect for fundamental rules?

I know that the NCAA is a bass ackwards organization whose only saving grace is the Big Dance, but really, Bruce. I feel kind of sorry for you. That tan? Yikes. Being perpetually in the shadow of your football program? Tough life.

(Well, Billy Donovan made it work, but he also has Nerf guns.)

It must be difficult for Pearl to have his recruits constantly dipping out on him and his players having frequent run-ins with the law. And after being banned from off campus recruiting for two years, things are just going to get worse and worse at Thompson Boiling Arena. Pat Summit has always worn the pants in this relationship and good lord, man, she always will.

I’m thrilled to be a Duke student for the halcyon days that we have now firmly entered. Our recruiting, unlike Pearl’s, is going along swimmingly. Our targets, unlike John Calipari’s, did not play profe$$ionally in Europe or have their transcripts overhauled to be admitted to “school” (…reportedly). Our prized players, unlike poor Dana Altman’s at Oregon, aren’t jumping ship overseas (check those consecutive ocean metaphors!).

Obviously, the Blue Devil program has had problems in the past. If I had a nickel for every time a rival fan (read: Kentucky) mentioned Corey Maggette and Myron Piggie, and literally snorted like a pig in imitation, I could buy season tickets next to Ashley Judd. And there is no guaranteeing that, in the post-Coach K era, Duke will always attract top talent to Durham or run a squeaky clean program. We can hope, but we can’t count on it.

But for now, let’s enjoy the fruits of success. Coach K is stacking so much paper to the ceiling and slanging so many gold medals that Duke will probably have top 5 recruiting classes until he retires.

The founders of this blog have at least two more years at Duke and in Cameron. With this roster, a coach who has his own holiday, and the Durham community, we’re hoping to ride the wave to Houston.

Crazie Notes featuring Quinn Cook

Duke has offered 2011 standout point guard Quinn Cook, Jason Jordan on DIME Magazine reported yesterday. Thanks for taking our post-Felix advice, guys. Once Cook recovers from his knee injury, he’ll be an absolute star for Steve Smith at Oak Hill. I hope (and kind of anticipate) that Quinn joins Duke and helps fill the hole left by his god-brother Nolan Smith. With Gbinije, Adams and Plum3 already committed (and Austin Rivers possibly on the way), we may be looking a recruiting class to sort of rival 1999. Maybe.

Cook’s highlights from a solid summer are below.

Find more videos like this on BALL IS LIFE

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Thanks for all your support of Crazie-Talk, folks. Please leave your comments, thoughts and criticisms in the comments section. You can even tweet and Facebook this article if you want. I love the 21st century.