Tag:Duke
Posted on: January 27, 2012 12:26 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 1:17 pm
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Shabazz Muhammad keeps everyone guessing

No. 1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad has not given any hints as to where he's headed next year. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Everyone wants to know where Shabazz Muhammad will play his college basketball next season. As the consensus top prospect in the class of 2012, his decision has the attention of fans, casual observers, recruitniks, coaches – everyone.

Muhammad’s classmates at Bishop Gorman (Nev.) are no different.

“Probably 10 times a day in school,” Muhammad said last week when asked how often he hears the question. “Everyone wants to know. I don’t mind it. I just say I don’t know yet.

“I’m still looking at all my schools.”

Muhammad, a 6-foot-5 small forward, has had a pretty static list for the past year. UCLA, Kentucky, UNLV, Duke, Arizona, Kansas and USC are the ones jockeying for his services right now.

He’s taken his time throughout the process, only taking official visits to Kentucky and Texas A&M so far. He won’t make a decision until he’s taken all five of his officials.

“Probably when I’m done with my visits,” Muhammad said. “I have three more officials, and I’m definitely going to take them. I’ll have them scheduled in a month or so.”

For now, he said he’s looking at Duke, Kansas and Arizona for the remaining visits. Because they’re so close to home, UCLA and UNLV likely won’t receive official visits.

“It’s worthwhile to go to a farther school for an official, since they’re paying,” Muhammad said.

UNLV seems to be gaining some traction in his recruitment, especially after picking up Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch. Moreover, the hometown school has been on Muhammad as long as anyone, and the Runnin’ Rebels performance this season is just proving that the program is on the rise.

They’re certainly in the mix for Muhammad.

“The program is really coming along,” he said. “They got Khem Birch, some other recruits. They’re a great program, they’re going to be a great team. I’m really looking forward to getting more involved with the recruitment.”

Muhammad also said he would be OK staying at home in Las Vegas.

John Calipari and a couple of assistants were in attendance for Muhammad’s game at the Hoophall Classic against DeMatha Catholic (Md.). The Wildcats are continuing to turn up the heat on Muhammad.

“The interest level is high,” Muhammad said. “Coach Cal was at my game. I talked to them a week ago. I just think I fit really well in their style of play.”

Another school that sent a head coach and two assistants was Duke, as Mike Krzyzewski was front-and-center for Muhammad’s nationally-televised game.

“Coach K is just a mastermind,” he said. “I’m really getting excited about going down there.”

The school that has been associated with Muhammad’s recruitment for most of the past two years was UCLA. The Bruins are squarely in the mix for him, and the addition of top-five prospect Kyle Anderson in the fall can only help.

“Who wouldn’t want to play with Kyle?” Muhammad said. “How he sees the floor is just remarkable.”

Another school in the running for an official visit from Muhammad is Arizona. The Wildcats have the top recruiting class in the country right now, and adding the No. 1 prospect would cement its spot atop the rankings.

Moreover, Sean Miller would have one of the most talented rosters around.

“I think I would fit really well,” Muhammad said. “They run a high-tempo style.”

Style of play is Muhammad’s most important factor in his recruitment. He prefers a mostly half-court style where he could use his tremendous scoring ability to his advantage, but he also wants some fast-break opportunities where he can get out in transition.

Muhammad won’t let the pressure get to him; he’s set on taking his time and making an informed decision after his season ends.

“It’s kind of weighing on me, but I’m still weighing my options out.”

Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:34 am
 

Amile Jefferson could be on verge of decision

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the past couple of months, it has seemed like Amile Jefferson was on the verge of making a decision.

This time, he might really mean it.

“It’s getting close,” Jefferson said over the weekend. “I’m hoping it’s soon. It’s day-to-day. We’re going to sit down and give each coach one more call.”

Jefferson, a 6-foot-9 forward from Friends Central (Pa.), is ranked No. 13 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He is considering five schools heading into the home stretch: Villanova, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Duke.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” Jefferson said. “You get the pressure from fans. There’s no more courting. People want you to make a decision.”

Duke is one of the schools getting plenty of attention with Jefferson the past few weeks. Mike Krzyzewski turned up the heat on him recently, becoming a major player in his recruitment after sniffing around for a while.

The Blue Devils are squarely in the mix.

“Duke was always a school I had interest in,” Jefferson said. “I’ve been talking to Coach K. You go there, you know you have a chance to compete for national championships and play with some of the best players in the country.”

Before Duke was one of the finalists, Jefferson had taken official visits to Villanova, Ohio State, NC State and Kentucky – but not to Duke. In fact, he hasn’t seen the Durham campus since his sophomore year.

However, it doesn’t look like that will hurt the Blue Devils’ chances.

“I don’t think so,” Jefferson said. “I’ve seen a lot and I talk to coach K and coach [Chris] Collins a lot.”

Is Duke the new favorite? We’ll see by the end of the month – maybe.

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:34 am
 

Amile Jefferson could be on verge of decision

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – For the past couple of months, it has seemed like Amile Jefferson was on the verge of making a decision.

This time, he might really mean it.

“It’s getting close,” Jefferson said over the weekend. “I’m hoping it’s soon. It’s day-to-day. We’re going to sit down and give each coach one more call.”

Jefferson, a 6-foot-9 forward from Friends Central (Pa.), is ranked No. 13 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He is considering five schools heading into the home stretch: Villanova, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Duke.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” Jefferson said. “You get the pressure from fans. There’s no more courting. People want you to make a decision.”

Duke is one of the schools getting plenty of attention with Jefferson the past few weeks. Mike Krzyzewski turned up the heat on him recently, becoming a major player in his recruitment after sniffing around for a while.

The Blue Devils are squarely in the mix.

“Duke was always a school I had interest in,” Jefferson said. “I’ve been talking to Coach K. You go there, you know you have a chance to compete for national championships and play with some of the best players in the country.”

Before Duke was one of the finalists, Jefferson had taken official visits to Villanova, Ohio State, NC State and Kentucky – but not to Duke. In fact, he hasn’t seen the Durham campus since his sophomore year.

However, it doesn’t look like that will hurt the Blue Devils’ chances.

“I don’t think so,” Jefferson said. “I’ve seen a lot and I talk to coach K and coach [Chris] Collins a lot.”

Is Duke the new favorite? We’ll see by the end of the month – maybe.

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:21 am
 

Julius Randle begins taking unofficial visits

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Julius Randle is still about a year from making his college decision, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking steps in the recruiting process.

Earlier this month, the No. 3-ranked prospect in 2013 spent some time on Tobacco Road, visiting North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke.

“They’re three programs that have great tradition,” Randle said. “It was just an honor to visit. It was a lot of fun.”

Randle, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (Texas), is not tipping his hand as to which visit was the best – or to which specific schools are recruiting him.

“I don’t have a list,” he said. “If you name a team, they’re probably recruiting me.”

However, Randle did say he wants to take unofficial visits to Texas and Kentucky in the near future.

“I like the versatility of the players they have,” he said.

In addition to the aforementioned five schools, Ohio State, Kansas, Baylor are also among the colleges heavily pursuing Randle. He won’t make a decision until after he takes his five official visits, which will happen next fall.

While academics rank high on the priority list for Randle, coaching style is also going to be a major factor when he eventually makes a decision.

“A coach that will push me,” he said. “He’s not going to always tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. Someone that will make me the best player I can be.”

Photo: Bleacher Report 

Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:20 pm
 

Ricardo Gathers has four favorites

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Since Ricardo Gathers decommitted from St. John’s in early November, several new schools have tried to get involved in his recruitment.

While he doesn’t seem to be in a rush to finish the process, Gathers has shed some light on his suitors.

After his Riverside (La.) team lost to Gonzaga (D.C.) on Saturday at the Hoophall Classic, the No. 52-ranked player in the class of 2012 said he had been hearing from Baylor, LSU, St. John’s, California, North Carolina State and Florida.

His four favorites are: Baylor, St. John’s, Florida and North Carolina State.

The Red Storm remain in the mix despite parting ways two months ago.

“I like their style of play,” the 6-foot-8 power forward said. “How they go so hard.”

Two schools mentioned recently with Gathers are Kentucky and Duke, but he said neither is showing consistent interest.

Duke contacted him once. “Not frequently,” he said.

As for Kentucky, head coach John Calipari came to one game, but the Wildcats have yet to contact him directly or offer him a scholarship.

Gathers plans to make a decision after the season, but he wants to take trips to North Carolina State, Duke, Florida and Baylor before announcing his final commitment.

Photo: New Orleans Times-Picayune

Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:40 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:45 pm
 

Connecticut joins race for Tony Parker



By
Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – It seems every time Tony Parker discusses his recruitment, another school enters the picture.

This time, it’s Connecticut.

“[Jim] Calhoun called me recently,” Parker said after his team’s loss to St. Anthony (N.J.) at the Hoop Hall Classic. “I’ll sit down with my dad. They’re one of his favorite schools.”

Parker, a 6-foot-8 big man from Miller Grove (Ga.), is one of the top uncommitted players left in the class of 2012. He still has Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Ohio State and Memphis on his list, with Kansas showing recent interest.

Parker said he plans to make a decision during the spring.

“It’s getting closer, it’s starting to get hectic,” he said. “But I don’t really feel any pressure.”

Parker struggled against the swarming defense of St. Anthony on Monday, finishing with just six points and three rebounds. Duke and Kentucky had three representatives each to watch Parker, with Mike Kryzewski and Jim Calhoun both in attendance. Kevin Ollie from Connecticut also took in the game.

Parker enjoys the eyeballs watching him.

“The light is on me,” he said. “I don’t feel any added pressure because if I choose them, I’m going to play in front of them everyday. It’s kind of fun.”

Kentucky recently began showing more interest in Parker, and the Wildcats are in the mix for his final official visit. The Wildcats have already secured a commitment from Alex Poythress, Parker’s friend and AAU teammate on the Georgia Stars.

Poythress has been helping Kentucky recruit Parker.

“Their interest is good,” Parker said. “I get the Kentucky calls everyday from [Poythress], making sure I’m watching the game. It’s a great place.”

Although several teams are trying to jump into the process late in the game, Ohio State is one of the programs that have been involved since the start. Assistant coach Drew Dickerson represented the Buckeyes on Monday.

If Jared Sullinger leaves early, Parker would be the ideal replacement.

“They’re a great program,” he said. “They do a lot with their bigs, which really works in my favor. They really recruit good around their bigs. I have a deep relationship with the coaching staff.”

Parker plans to take his final official visit before making a decision. He said Kentucky, Kansas and Connecticut are all in the mix for it, but it will likely come down to Kentucky or Connecticut for his last trip.

Unless another team enters the picture, of course.

Photo: Five Star Basketball 

Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:19 am
 

Unselfish Troy Williams ready for big year

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By
Jeff Borzello

Junior Troy Williams has lofty individual goals for the upcoming season – but the unselfish five-star prospect doesn’t want it to revolve around his personal offensive exploits.

“I want to get Player of the Year this year, but not by just scoring – but how I involved my teammates on the floor with me,” Williams said.

The 6-foot-6 small forward from Pheobus (Va.) is ranked No. 8 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 for 2013. He doesn’t mind being the go-to-guy for his high school team, but he prefers getting his teammates shots too.

“Definitely [going to] have a bigger role this year, and again this year, I have players around me who can ball, so I’m looking for their help too,” Williams said.

Williams is one of the best scoring wings in the class. He has good range on his jump shot, and he is tough with his mid-range game as well. Defensively, he uses his athleticism and tremendous length to be a factor in passing lanes. The nephew of famed AAU coach Boo Williams has one of the higher ceilings in the class.

Not surprisingly, Williams isn’t settling, working to expand his game in the offseason.

“Shooting, defense, ball-handling and being a better leader on and off the court,” he said when asked what he improved in the fall.

A slew of colleges stopped by his Hampton, Va. high school during the fall to check him during workouts. Villanova, Georgetown, Florida, Texas, DePaul, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Louisville all came through.

In addition to those schools – besides the Tar Heels – Kentucky, Alabama and Miami (Fl.) have also offered him a scholarship.

As for North Carolina, they continue to eye Williams but have yet to pull the trigger on an offer.

“They were ready to offer but they either offered too many people or are just holding off,” he said. “But they do have high interest.”

Williams has already taken trips to North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky and Louisville.

“They were great,” he said. “I learned a lot of history about the schools, and met some of the players and coaches.”

Villanova, Georgetown and Virginia Tech are next on his unofficial visit list, although no dates have been set. There are no favorites for Williams, but he knows what he’s looking for in a prospective school.

“High graduation percentage of the players that went there,” he said. “Great relationship with the coach, and a school that can shape me into an NBA player.”

Don’t expect a decision anytime soon from Williams; he’s going to wait out the process.

“I probably won’t commit until next summer.”

Photo: 247Sports.com

Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Five-star junior Matt Jones commits to Duke

By Jeff Borzello

It looks like Duke has a new go-to recruiting area for talented shooting guards.

Last year, the Blue Devils dipped into Texas for five-star guard Rasheed Sulaimon. On Monday, Mike Kryzewski picked up another stud recruit from the Lonestar State.

Matt Jones, the No. 12-ranked player in the class of 2013 by CBSSports.com, committed to Duke. Jones is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from DeSoto (Texas).

"After long consideration with my parents and people around me, we felt it was best that I commit to Duke University!," Jones tweeted on Monday evening.

Jones had offers from North Carolina, Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Louisville, Kansas and others.

What set Duke apart, though, was the all-around feel he got from the Blue Devils.

“Just how they play,” Jones told CBSSports.com when asked why he chose the Blue Devils. “Academics. It felt like coaches could take me to the next level. It felt like home away from home. Plus, my whole family liked my decision.”

Jones is one of the best shooters in the entire class, with deep range and a quick release on his jumper. He moves well without the ball and knows how to get his shot off over defenders. Moreover, he’s improved his ability to get into the lane and finish. He can knock down pull-up jumpers or score in transition.

Jones is Duke’s first commitment in the class of 2013.

Photo: Memphis Roar 

 
 
 
 
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