Tyus Jones (6'0, 175, PG): Ranked as the number one point guard in the class of 2014 by Scout.com and a five star prospect, Jones has long been considered the top recruit on the board for Duke. Jones is being heavily recruited by head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Jeff Capel. Je recently elaborated on their talks:
"Coach K talks about how I'd fit in with him if I was his point guard, and just what kind of player I could be at Duke. He's told me how I'd be utilized as a player. Coach Capel checks in on me a lot, and he stays up on how I'm doing. They talk about Kyrie Irving, and some and the success he's had. They talk about what he did in the program and how I would do great things as well."
And what is Tyus looking forward to about the trip to Durham?
"Being on campus, and seeing the atmosphere. To see what the students are like, is big. You always see it on television, but I want to see firsthand. I mean, what it's like to be a Duke player? What's it like playing in front of their fans? I really want to see their facilities and just how they operate. Basically, what it's like to be a Duke player."
Jahlil Okafor (6-10, 265, C): Okafor has visited Duke unofficially a few times, and appears to be the Blue Devils' top post prospect in 2014. A throwback big man who enjoys working inside, Okafor maintains the Blue Devils are one of the programs under heavy consideration.
"I like Duke a lot, I don't feel like they've had a big like me in a while, and yet but they definitely have had some really amazing bigs come through their program. If I were to go there, with all the shooters they have, they wouldn't really be able to double me and I could see myself being very effective in their offense. I feel like I can trust Coach K."
Okafor, like Jones, has a who's who of college basketball recruiting him, and the Blue Devils have their work cut out for them. Still, when it comes to choosing a school, the big Chicago center has offered his opinions on what the right situation may be:
"I'm looking at the players that will be around me, and which guys would come in with me. That's a big thing. Academics are really important as well. My parents and I really look into how good the academics are with the various schools. Also, the relationship with the coaching staff is huge for me. I want to go to school already being completely comfortable with them."
Theo Pinson: (6-6, 185, SF): Pinson had an up and down summer, but has committed himself to improving after failing to make the Team USA squad. Since that setback the wirery forwards has helped his team in the Nike EYBL, and maintains a long list of suitors. Including Duke.
"[Not making Team USA] was a real motivating factor more than anything, it lit a fire in me. To be real honest, that was my first wake up call, to see that nothing is going to be given to you. If you want something, you have to go earn it. I'm using this as a motivating factor to go actually play hard every game and get better as a player."
Pinson has continued to receive high level interest from Duke and is considered the third best small forward in the nation according to Scout. He has been on campus a number of times unofficially prior to Countdown to Craziness this year.
Class of 2015
Karl Towns (6-10, 215, PF): Considered the top overall player in the class of 2015, Towns actually played for the Dominican Republic's senior national team this summer with a chance to face Coach K and Team USA as the Americans prepared to head to London and win a second consecutive gold medal. And who was coaching Towns in that game? Kentucky's John Calapari who has also begun heavily recruiting Towns.
The five star prospect made a visit to North Carolina, NC State, and Duke in August. While at Duke, Towns sat down with Coach K and received a scholarship offer. Before his sophomore season had even begun workouts. Towns elaborated on the offer and what it means and how it was delivered:
"It's basically because they have that procedure for offers so that the players they offer can accept the scholarship to Duke. With NC State, it's a firm offer they said, and with Duke the offer is there, but there's just a procedure to go through. That's why we are focusing on the communication and taking it one step at a time. We want to stay focused on doing the right things and getting the info from all the colleges that we are considering."
Later, Towns checked in again with TDD to provide a post-summer and AAU circuit update on things - touching on the interest between Duke and Kentucky:
"You know, Duke and Kentucky are two schools I've had the good fortune to visit already, and both of them show me a great deal of interest. For me it's a great blessing having Coach Calipari and Coach K take time to visit me and watch me play. The fact that I have scholarship offers from both of them now is just amazing to me, and I'm thankful."
"With Duke, they are one of the best schools out there. I'm really looking forward to being around when it's much more populated with students than the first time I was there. I'm really looking forward to that."
Class of 2016
Harry Giles (6-8, 210, PF): It's ridiculously early for Giles, but Duke's already made contact and he will be one to watch ing the coming years. Another local prospect, and a high school teammate of Theo Pinson, Giles burst onto the scene at the 2012 USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team mini-camp in Colorado Springs.
Scout.com was in attendance and offered the following evaluation of Giles:
This versatile power forward prospect played with a huge chip on his shoulder and that tenacity made him one of the more productive players in the camp. If he got the ball close to the basket he would either smoothly lay it in or throw it down on an opponent with a vicious one-handed dunk. He ran the court extremely hard and found himself in the middle of every play. A willing passer, Giles also made some precise passes to teammates from the post. You can tell he's working on his scoring arsenal, mixing in a floater as well as an acrobatic spin move with a left-handed finish. He'll be recruited at a high level.
Here's some quick highlights from Colorado Springs: