Coach K Goes In-Home With DeMarcus

After hosting associate head coach Johnny Dawkins and assistant Steve Wojciechowski for an open gym last week, the earliest commitment in the class of 2004 and his family will be hosting head coach Mike Krzyzewski and staff tonight for Coach K's final in-home visit of 2004.

Sheldon High School standout DeMarcus Nelson ended his recruitment earlier than any other recruit in Blue Devil history when he offered a verbal commitment back in May of 2001. Since that time the media attention, and with it much of the national fanfare, has been as minimal as can be expected for a high major recruit, which is something that's all right with the Nelson camp.

"Early on we were wondering why in the world Markie wasn't getting any respect in all these polls," said Ronald Nelson. "Now we realize that no matter what happened this past summer, he wasn't going anywhere in terms of rankings. That's okay with us because we know that he played about as well as he could play this summer."

Indeed the 6-foot-3 combo guard spent most of the summer torching defenders and putting up huge numbers including a tournament scoring title at the annual USA Basketball Festival in Colorado Springs. Still most recruiting services refused to elevate the future Blue Devil's stock any higher than the top 15.

"It's like a coach told me in Las Vegas; He said Markie committed to Duke almost 10 years ago it seems. He's not dragging this out, and so he's not news any more. That means he's able to fly under the radar unlike most big time recruits."

That theory was backed up in a TDD chat session with's National Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep.

"That happens when kids commit young," said Telep. "That's why guys like ‘open it back up' -- so they can get the attention."

Though many recruiting services didn't think Nelson was news this summer, there was one group of scouts and analysts who are extremely high on the future Blue Devil.

"The NBA has been sending scouts out here for a while now," said the elder Nelson. "I know the Grizzles and Jerry West just love Demarcus. There have probably been seven or eight teams who have been out here more than once to watch him work out. It's funny because some of these experts don't like his game, and yet the NBA and ever coach I've talked to love him."

Despite the NBA's interest in his son, Ron says Demarcus is excited about the chance to play at Duke, which is why the staff was in attendance last week for the open gym.

"Coach Dawkins coming out was to see what they wanted him to work on this winter. Since Demarcus will be working with him the most out of all the coaches, I think it was good to see Johnny out here for that."

On Tuesday with Coach K in their living room, Ron says he and Demarcus have a number of questions. "We just mainly want to catch up and talk with Coach about where he sees Demarcus fitting in next year, and his role. But mainly it's just a chance to catch up with one another."

Nelson averaged 33 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists a contest last year for Vallejo High School before transferring to Sheldon High following the family moving to Sacramento. He scored over 43 points six times during his junior season and has already scored over 2400 points in his high school career.

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