Devil of a weekend on tap

When Duke squares off against North Carolina on Saturday night in attempt to exact payback on the Tar Heels, most eyes will focus on the game at hand.

But from a purely recruiting perspective, the action in the stands also looms as extremely important. Fans naturally will hope for a great game, but various college coaching staffs would love for the matchup to fizzle and ultimately prove forgettable.

For good reason. Duke will be hosting elite players from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes for an assortment of official and unofficial visits, and the Blue Devils hope to edge past the tipping point and win a couple commitments either during the weekend or at some point down the road.

Scalding hot junior wing Luke Kennard confirmed early this week that he'll take an official visit to Durham for the festivities. The prevailing wisdom has been that Kentucky, Ohio State and Duke stand as the frontrunners, with the Devils gaining steam over the course of this season.

Kennard will be joined by junior peer Chase Jeter. Duke has made significant inroads into the power forward's recruitment and likely will need to sign at least two big men from the 2015 class. There are other elite big men in the West such as Ivan Rabb and Stephen Zimmerman capturing attention from Pac-12 programs, which might crack the door a little for a school on the East Coast.

In the senior class, top-five center Myles Turner will be making his official trip. Most everyone considers Duke — which already holds a signature from Jahlil Okafor — to be a darkhorse, but getting Turner on campus at least gives the Blue Devils a puncher's chance. Incidentally, Kansas also is getting a visit and also signed another elite 2014 big man in Cliff Alexander.

Several unofficial visitors will attend as well. No. 1 sophomore Harry Giles — located in the nearby Triad — will take in the festivities. Most likely, Duke and UNC will fight it out for Giles with Kentucky also attempting to extract him from the state.

Other notable sophomores, Junior Smith and Josh Langford, also plan to attend according to It's too early to handicap Duke's chances with them, but inviting them to the Carolina game lays a foundation and certainly should make a strong initial impression.

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