Clint's Mailbag: Your Questions Answered

TDD's Clint Jackson answers some questions about Duke's recruiting efforts, how the staff operates and whether Duke leads for any of the best post players from the class of 2005.

Question -- How much time do each of the assistants and Coach K spend recruiting? How does it break down between the season and off-season? Where does advance knowledge of up and coming recruits come from? Does our staff rely more on personal contacts and watching tournaments, or on national experts/services who are available to all programs? Thanks. --Jay McDonald.

Jay -- Thanks for the questions. A lot of good ones in there. As for time spent recruiting, the best answer to that is to say that they're always recruiting. Duke didn't get to be known as one of the most recognized names in college basketball for being lazy.

Recruiting is a non-stop process. You can't take a day off when it comes to something like this, and that's because the programs that work the hardest and the smartest will get the best prospects in the nation. It's proven year after year. Duke, and in particular, Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski -- are always on the road watching these kids and managing relationships with the coaches as well as the necessary folks to have an advantage. And Coach Krzyzewski is one heck of a closer. He knows how to get the trust and solidify the relationship with the kids and their parents.

One former Duke player told me that he had no clue as to where he wanted to go until he got to sit down with Coach K and have a conversation. He told me that he was overwhelmed with stress and pressure. His time with the Duke coach was just what he needed to alieviate his pressure. His commitment to Duke came less than a week later after Krzyzewski answered all of his questions and overcame all of his obstacles.

The NCAA only allows direct contact during certain parts of the year. But just because the NCAA won't allow the coaches to contact the recruits during that time -- there are several other ways to let a kid feel the love. From calling the coaches to having the kid call the basketball office -- the coaches still remain active in the recruiting process all of the time.

As for where the knowledge comes from? It comes from everywhere. These coaches are well connected. They not only see a lot of these young kids themselves, but they have trusted sources all over the country that regularly provide information to the staff. There are plenty of scouting services that the staff subscribes to and while they do digest some of the information from them -- this is only

As for what the staff relies on, I think they take every bit of information into consideration when it comes to any prospect, but the staff evaluates the kid themselves before deciding on whether to pursue a kid. They've seen plenty of basketball and played plenty of basketball themselves -- so they know what it takes to succeed at this level.

Trust me when I say this -- the Duke staff works hard. Recruiting is a lot like sales -- there are many ingredients that go into successful recruiting. And the staff that can use all of the necessary angles to close the deal is going to get the kids that they want in the end.

Question -- Of any of the players Duke is recruiting right now in the Class of 2005 (Boateng, Hendrix, Hansbrough ) is Duke a leader? --Barry.

Barry -- It's probably too early to call with any of those kids. But I'll say that as of this particular time, Duke is in pretty good shape with Eric Boateng as well as Tyler Hansbrough.

Some folks think that Hansbrough is a Florida lean at this time -- but I haven't gotten any direct confirmation from my sources as of yet on that rumor being true. He has stated that he wants to visit Duke and I think that if the Duke staff can get the aggressive forward on campus, it'll certainly help their chances even more.

Florida and North Carolina are also in the mix and that recruitment is going to be a war. Pay real close attention to whom the staff actually offers and less of just the kids that are on the "radar." That being said -- Hansbrough has been offered.

I think Richard Hendrix is going to be REALLY tough for Duke if they were to put a full blitz on trying to get a commitment from the Alabama big man. I strongly believe that the Tar Heels might be in better shape with Hendrix and he's also going to be a tough get because of his hometown pull in Alabama.

As for Boateng -- it's still real early and many college staffs are still in the evaluation stage with him, as he's got some impressive physical abilities but he has a lot of developing to do. I think the Duke staff is very intrigued with Boateng and I certainly think that if they decide to offer the 6-10 center -- they'd have a solid chance of landing him. But the school list for Boateng is long and it'll take a valiant effort from any staff to land the consensus top ten center.


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