First, we asked the Scout.com national recruiting team of Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, and Josh Gershon to provide a scouting report of each of the incoming freshmen as well as some of the top Duke targets in the class of 2014.
Next, we compiled the data and then removed the names associated with each player card.
Finally, those blank player cards were presented to Mr. Sumner. We asked Jim to name the first former Blue Devil that came to mind based on the scouting report.
Here's the result…
Weight: 215 pounds
Scout.com Scouting Report:
- Versatile player who handles very well
- Strong and relentless rebounder
- Jump shot could be more consistent
- Not a great perimeter shooter
- High energy player
- Needs to add strength
Quick Description: Looney is a versatile and skilled 6-8 forward. He can score inside and out and is one of the best rebounders in high school basketball. He's active, tough and aggressive on both ends of the floor. - Brian Snow
One of the best rebounders from the power forward position that you will see. He has long arms, is very athletic, and has that sixth sense to know where the ball is coming off the rim. Add in that he is a high level athlete who has a great motor, and it is easy to see why the whole country wants him. - Evan Daniels
Sumner Says…: ANTONIO LANG (1991-1994)
Antonio Lang began his career as a reserve, playing just under 12 minutes per night as a freshman. He would steadily find his way into the Blue Devils'rotation over the next two years before becoming a full-time starter as a senior alongside Grant Hill.
In four years, Lang never really established himself away from the basket. He missed all three permitter shots he attempted in four seasons, but that was just fine with Duke. Much like former Blue Devil Lance Thomas, Lang made his mark on the defensive end as well as on the glass where he was always one of the team's top three rebounders over the last two seasons.
As a senior, Lang doubled his career scoring average (to 12.5 points per game), and shot 59 percent from the field while playing the "4" alongside Grant Hill. Prior to that season, which ended with a loss in the National Championship game to Arkansas, the senior from Mobile, Alabama had a chance to sit down with Coach K to talk about expectations as he told the guys at Duke Blue Planet:
"Before the 1994 season, Coach invited me to his house and told me that my leadership was the key to our team being successful. I didn't have the chance before that to lead because we had great leaders like Bobby, Christian and Brian in the years before. We also had the best player in the country on our team, Grant Hill. Coach told me to believe in myself. He saw something in me that I didn't. I didn't want to let him or my team down. That year, we were one possession away from winning our third championship in four years." (Full Article Here)
After being drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns (29th pick) in 1994, Lang saw limited action with the Suns before being traded to Cleveland in 1995. Before retiring from action, the former Blue Devil had logged stints with Toronto, Philadelphia, and Miami. He also played in the CBA and abroad in Japan.
Currerntly, Lang is the head coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins.
Much like Lang (and Thomas for that matter), Looney will arrive at the collegiate level regarded as a blue collar player. At nearly 6'9, the Wisconsin native is versatile enough to face up to the basket, but his bread and butter is his competitiveness and rebounding.
Over the summer, Looney's game continued to expand and he became more and more of a force on the offensive end (he averaged 28 points per game in high school). However, it was his defense that continued to draw rave reviews from national analysts. The latest big time performance(s) came at the Adidas Invitational event where Brian Snow filed the following scouting report:
"Looney did what Looney does. While he sometimes settled a bit on the offensive end shooting threes, Looney still was dominant on the glass and showed a good ability to block shots. When he did go inside no one really had an answer for him. Looney has very long arms which allows him to play down low despite being slightly undersized. Once he gets more comfortable and is around teammates who let him dominate, Looney is going to be a terror."
The Duke coaches hope he's a terror in Durham, where Antonoio Lang appears to be the basis for comparison according to Sumner. Recently the five star power forward cut his list to six. Joining the Blue Devils are Florida, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA, and Wisconsin.
On Duke, Looney offered his brief thoughts after releasing his list:
"Great program, legendary coach, they produce NBA players and have a great brand."
About Jim Sumner: Jim Sumner specializes in southern sports. He is a columnist for Go Duke: The Magazine, Inside Carolina magazine, Duke Basketball Report and College Chalktalk.com. Sumner is a regular contributor to The Associated Press, the Durham Herald-Sun, the Wolfpacker, Basketball Times, ACC Sports Journal, ACCSports.com, GoDuke.com, Tar Heel Tipoff and Blue Devil Tipoff. He has written for The ACC Handbook, Baseball America, Duke Magazine, Basketball America, Our State, Metro Magazine, and numerous other magazines, journals, and websites.