Brian Snow, National Recruiting Analyst: Clearly the strength is with the wing positions, and adding two players who can play both the shooting guard and small forward positions, and who bring versatility. Matt Jones is one of the best pure shooters in the class while Semi Ojeleye is one of the most versatile kids around.
Obviously the weakness is Duke hasn't yet been able to address their need down low. There is a need for some toughness on the interior, and so far that hasn't been addressed. Still I like the duo they have, and think those guys will be instant impact players for Duke.
Much like a year ago when they 'added' Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee to the new crop of players, Duke has added Rodney Hood to 2013 in terms of eligibility. If you include him in the class, how does that change things?
If you add in Rodney Hood it means adding a five-star NBA type player. Period.
If we added in transfers to class rankings, which we don't do, this would probably jump Duke to No. 2 and possibly No. 1. It isn't something Evan [Daniels] and I discussed, but a class with three five-stars would be all sorts of difficult to overlook. I really like Rodney Hood as a player and see him making a lot of money playing this game for a long time. For Duke to have him is huge for their future.
Austin is someone Evan tracks much closer than I do, so I don't have the best insight on that situation. That being said, he strikes me - personality wise - as the type of kid who is more likely to stay close to home. Austin is a bit of an introvert, is close with his family, and has a sister at Tennessee. I like Memphis or Tennessee here, but Duke obviously brings something to the table, and they are a definite factor.
In terms of Jabari, I think Duke has an excellent shot. At the end of the day it is likely Duke or Michigan State. I wish I knew where Jabari is going, but at the moment I doubt highly Jabari knows where Jabari was going. I think it comes down to the end where that elusive "gut feeling" is used. Duke is right there, and this one looks like Izzo and Krzyzewski battling to the end, and at right now I think it is pretty close to 50/50.
Should Duke land one or both, what does it add to the class already assembled?
Obviously with Jabari, landing him gives the elite one and done type kid that you really need to win a national title. I know Kemba Walker wasn't a one and done for UConn, but he was that NBA lottery pick that, in general, you really need to win a national title. That isn't to say it happens 100 percent of the time or you have to be a Kentucky with the most lottery picks to win a national title, but it is real tough to win without a dominant player, and Jabari could/should be that dominant player.
With Austin Nichols I think he would add a bit of toughness down low, someone who can stretch the floor from the four and five spots, and just another strong and good player that is able to make things happen and complement the current interior players that Duke has. I am not sure he is someone who will play in the NBA, but I do think he is an excellent college player who helps his team win a lot of games.
Which leads to the flip side… Where does Duke look if they miss on a guy like Nichols?
The pickings are extremely slim right now. Maybe a kid out of Florida like Joel Embiid, but he is fairly raw. There just isn't much left if indeed the Blue Devils miss out on him.