Friday, October 19, 2012
Big recruit weekends for Duke, Zona, IU
By Dave Telep
Three national powers looked at last weekend’s Midnight Madness and passed. Duke, Arizona and Indiana bucked the traditional opening night of the season and tabled their main fall recruiting weekend to this one.
It appears that tweaking the calendar to suit their needs worked well. Each program has elite visitors on campus, plenty of underclassmen and plans to ring in the season with their own flair.
My take on the package deal has always been clear: I’ll believe it when I see it. When it comes to the nation’s best junior big man and top point guard, I’m apt to believe the conspiracy theory. USA Basketball teammates Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor are visiting Durham. These kids enjoyed their time together with Team USA and have openly spoken about playing college basketball together.
For now, I’m buying their spiel. They have common schools -- Michigan State, Kentucky and Ohio State, to name a few. Mike Krzyzewski’s pitch to Jones has Olympic overtones: Be my Chris Paul (or Kyrie Irving).
Duke has spent a ton of time on Swiss Army knife junior Theo Pinson. The Blue Devils are also taking direct aim at elite freshman power forward Harry Giles. Karl Towns Jr., the No. 1 sophomore in the country, is also on campus. The Blue Devils invited only recruits ranked in the single digits in their particular classes.
Sean Miller knows this is his shot to pull off the pledge from Blake Griffin-play-alike Aaron Gordon. California, Washington, Kentucky, Oregon and Kansas offer stiff competition. Miller will be selling that he’s on the verge of developing three freshmen who should be first-rounders at some point. The Wildcats have done well with members of the Oakland Soldiers, Gordon’s AAU team.
The sheer number of requests that Indiana received from regional recruits to attend Saturday’s festivities had to be daunting. Tom Crean has left himself no free time this weekend. The Hoosiers have six seniors coming to campus, four of whom are already committed. Top-tier targets Troy Williams and BeeJay Anya will hang out with Hoosier pledges Stanford Robinson, Devin Davis, Collin Hartman and Luke Fischer.