MDAA: Recruits react to Wojo's departure

Former Blue Devil associate head coach had strong ties to the class of 2014's commitments. Each spoke with TDD about the change.

CHICAGO -- With Tuesday's announcement of Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski being hired as Marquette's head men's basketball coach, TDD spoke to the four McDonald's All-American Duke commits at media day on Tuesday to get their reaction to Coach Wojo leaving.

A former McDonald's All-American himself, Wojciechowski was an assistant coach at Duke since 1999 and he's often cited as a major influence on many of Duke's marquee recent players. And, of course, there's Wojciechowski's decorated playing career.

Jahlil Okafor wasn't recruited directly by Wojciechowski but spoke highly of him.

"He's going to be great, he's going to be great at Marquette. I had a great relationship with him but he wasn't my head recruiter. My head recruiter was Capel so I had a greater relationship with him. But I talked to Coach Capel today about it. Everybody at Duke is happy for him. Myself and Justise and Tyus and Grayson are all happy for him too," Okafor told TDD.

As a former point guard, Wojciechowski could have imparted wisdom to one of the nation's best point guards, Tyus Jones as well.

"I had a good relationship with Coach Wojo. I'm happy for him. He's got the opportunity to be a head coach. He works extremely hard and has a great passion for the game of basketball. I'm happy for him and I know other Duke recruits here are happy for him and the Duke coaches are happy for him as well. I think that's a good move for him," Jones said to TDD.

For Justise Winslow, a defensive nuisance on the wing, he was looking forward to working with Wojo on the defensive end.

"I love Coach Wojo. On my visits he would be out in practice playing defense with the guys and he's a defensive-minded guy. I'm going to miss him because I thought he would be there, but at the same time I'm really happy for him," Winslow said to TDD. "He's taking on the next challenge in his career and that's great for him. I wish him nothing but the best. He's going to be great at Marquette."

But perhaps Wojo leaving affects shooting guard Grayson Allen the most. Allen was recruited by Wojciechowski to Duke after blowing up on the AAU scene.

"He was the main coach that recruited me so I was pretty close to him. I always liked talking to him through the recruiting process because he was always straightforward and honest with me about everything," Allen said. "I'm sad to see him leave the Duke program -- and it's kind of a loss for us -- but I'm really happy for him and I think he's going to do great things at Marquette."

Plenty of Duke assistant coaches have left under the Coach K coaching tree, and it's sure to happen again sometime soon, but losing a 15-year presence like Wojciechowski will be an interesting change for the Blue Devils this season.


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