Very often these days the ultimate college decisions are fairly well known in the days or weeks leading up to the actual announcement. Occasionally kids are able to completely surprise everybody and go against the information that is out in public, but even more rare is when no one seems to have a good idea of where a kid will commit.
However Jefferson was able to pull off just that. Until the moment where he pledged his services to Duke, picking the Blue Devils over North Carolina State, Jefferson had everyone on the edge of their seat waiting for the decision.
Taking aside that Jefferson proved to be one of the better poker players in the last several years, this is a big commitment for the Blue Devils. Duke came into this recruitment late and had a lot of ground to make up.
Coming off of a first round loss in the NCAA Tournament, with a coach who many perceive is nearing the end of his tenure, losing their top perimeter weapon in Austin Rivers, there was a sense that maybe the allure of Duke could be off a little bit. With this announcement, Jefferson shows that isn't the case.
Duke was probably the last team to get involved in this recruitment. They came in late, offered, and threw their combination of academics and basketball at the family, and the Jefferson's liked what was being said. Jefferson, in the rare occasions where he did speak with the media, always talked about how Duke is a school you have to look at, and he felt he owed it to himself to check the program out.
Now Jefferson will head to Durham with a great opportunity ahead of him. The Blue Devils were looking thin in the frontcourt. Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee are seniors, and no doubt they will get the lion's share of the playing time at the power forward and center spots, but behind them on the depth chart is Josh Hairston along with Alex Murphy.
Last year Murphy decided to redshirt and in his second year Hairston averaged 2.7 points and 1.4 rebounds per game while playing only 8.5 minutes per game. Also neither Hairston nor Murphy has been characterized as a toughness guy who likes to mix it up down low.
Despite his wiry thin frame, that is exactly what Jefferson brings to the table. He loves to rebound the ball, has the length to do so, and just knows how to get things done in the paint. Also Jefferson is someone who knows himself, he isn't going to spend time on the outside shooting threes, and doesn't pretend to be something he isn't. Jefferson knows his bread and butter, and that is doing damage down low and being a tough kid who gets stuff done.
From both a perception and from a functional standpoint this pledge was huge for the Blue Devils. Jefferson joins elite shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon in a class that will be counted on to contribute from day one, and given their ability and fit within the program, they should be able to do just that.