Over the course of last week, the Blue Devil coaching staff extended scholarship offers to 2013 targets Ishmail Wainright, Marcus Lee, Allerik Freeman and Austin Nichols. Now, Duke now has total of seven scholarship offers out in the class of 2013 with Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Matt Jones, who has committed to Duke, also holding offers.
This past weekend marked the second straight weekend coaches NCAA coaches were out evaluating their prospects. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski began the weekend in Little Rock, Arkansas to watch Nichols in the Real Deal at the Rock tourney where he erupted for 26 points, 10 points and six blocks in front of the all-time wins leader in college basketball.
Krzyzewski then flew to Hampton, Va. to watch 2013 and 2014 prospects at the second session of the Nike EYBL on Saturday with assistant coaches Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins.
Duke target Jabari Parker— the top-ranked player in 2013—did not play this weekend after rolling his ankle the previous weekend in Minneapolis.
One of the biggest priorities of the weekend was Randle, the second ranked player in 2013, of the Texas Titans. Along with Duke’s staff, coaches from Texas, North Carolina, N.C. State, Baylor, Ohio State, Kansas and Kentucky, among others, attentively watched Randle’s games as his recruitment heats up.
The 6-foot-9 forward is truly a man amongst boys at the high school level with his NBA-caliber size, strength and speed. Perhaps the most impressive facet of Randle’s game is his ability to handle the ball comfortably for his stature and find open teammates as he penetrated and drew help defense. His AAU teammate and future Blue Devil, Jones, was deadly from long distance all weekend. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard is easily one of the best shooters in the class of 2013 and possesses a cerebral floor game with improving ball handling skills that should make him a great fit in Durham.
One of the more intriguing Duke targets is Lee, who is a bouncy power forward that prides his game on his defensive prowess. He is still quite raw offensively and very thin, but his frame, lanky wingspan, athleticism and considerable upside are making him a hot commodity on the recruiting circuit. Stanford, UCLA, Kansas, Duke, and Arizona, among many others, are hot after the 6-foot-9 Northern California product.
It’s easy to see why the Blue Devil coaching staff offered Wainright as he certainly passes the eye test as a physical specimen. The 6-foot-6 wing—who originally committed to Missouri as an underclassmen, but soon after decommitted—has a 7-foot-2 wingspan to go along with incredibly broad shoulders and built arms.
From a fan’s perspective, Wainright looks like he could break some schools’ weightlifting records at the next level. Holding offers from Duke, UCLA, Missouri, N.C. State and West Virginia, among others, Wainright is a tough lockdown defender, who has the ability to finish through contact in the paint. As it stands now, Duke is thought to be among the top contenders to land Wainright, however, he will likely not make a decision for a while.
The Blue Devil coaching staff also evaluated two more 2013 wings, James Young and Semi Ojeleye. Young has expressed his admiration for Kentucky and Duke in recent interviews. The Duke staff has not offered Young a scholarship, but his stellar play as of late may soon change that. The 6-foot-7 lefty wing is smooth, explosive and a capable scorer that seen his stock rise recently. The Detroit native will be one to track in the coming months as he draws more attention from major programs.
Much like Wainright, Ojeleye’s physique is not commonly found in most 17 year olds and he is becoming more and more sought after with time. Ojeleye does not hold a scholarship offer from Duke at this time, but the staff has been closely following the Kansas native lately.
Freeman and his teammate Anthony Barber of Boo Williams along with the Mac Irvin Fire’s Jahlil Okafor were also monitored over the weekend.
Additionally, the coaching staff invested a substantial amount of time watching 2014 point guard Tyus Jones of Minnesota, who is widely considered the top point guard in high school basketball regardless of class.
The calm and collected Jones is everything a coach could want in a point guard. His instincts for the game, ball handling and ability to find open teammates are second to none. He also has the ability to score in bunches from inside and out. Standing at just 6-foot-1, whatever Jones may lack in size and sheer athleticism he compensates for with his intelligence, craftiness and quickness. Jones has not narrowed his list of schools down yet, however, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana and Minnesota, among others are heavily invested in his recruitment.
Fellow 2014 Blue Devil target Theo Pinson, had a strong weekend with his team the CP3 All Stars. Given his proximity to Durham, the Greensboro native has been on the Duke coaching staff’s radar since his freshman year. Pinson is a wiry 6-foot-5 athlete who thrives in transition. Many expect Pinson to eventually receive a scholarship offer from Duke. Jones and Okafor are the only two in the class of 2014 with official scholarship offers.
Look for the coaching staff to set up visit dates with their targets over these next several weeks.
In other news: Troy Williams, the second ranked small forward in 2013, is expected to announce his college decision soon. Williams will decide between Kentucky and North Carolina. The general sentiment is that Williams will give North Carolina head coach Roy Williams his third commitment in the 2013 class to go along with Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt, which would give North Carolina the top 2013 class in the country for now.