Recruiting 101: Your Questions Answered

Early last week we asked our premium subscribers to submit questions for our recruiting staff. After sorting through them, <i></I> has made our best attempt to answer as many as we could thanks to the help of ACC recruiting analyst Clint Jackson.

Is there an NBA worry with McRoberts?

Clint -- I'd be lying if I said there would be no worries in regards to Josh McRoberts looking at the NBA Draft after this season is complete. Do I think he's excited to be a member of the Duke Basketball team? Sure, you bet he is.

From my conversations with him and his family -- they're ecstatic to see Josh heading to Duke. But times are changing and every kid, if projected lottery, will take a long hard look at the NBA Draft these days. The NBA guys will be watching McRoberts this year as they do every year with the top 15 kids in the nation. They'll follow him, evaluate him and try to get as much information possible as they can, but I really think McRoberts is a kid who is tremendously excited to play at Duke and it'll have to be a very lucrative guarantee from an NBA franchise to get him to start thinking otherwise.

My guess is that he's at Duke next season.

John – Of course there's a NBA worry with Josh. Just like there's an NBA worry with the rest of the top 10-15 prospects in any class. It's the way of the world these days. That said I do believe that Josh will be in Durham next season. Aside from the fact that he seems genuinely thrilled to be playing for Duke, there's never been a player like him that has made the jump.

Can Brockman play in Duke's system, and who does he reminds you of. What are Duke's chances?

Clint -- First off, let me tell you one thing about Jon Brockman...he can play in any system. He's an ultimate warrior who combines sheer will, power and skill and he's a beast on the boards. This kid is a true interior player who KNOWS that's where he belongs. He would be a major victory for any school that is lucky enough to land the 6-8, 245 pounder from Snohomish, Wash.

When I think of who Brockman reminds me of -- it's easy. And some of you may not know who I'm talking about, but Greg Brunner of Iowa is the closest thing to Brockman that I've seen over the past few years. Others that come to mind to a lesser extent are Linas Kleiza of Missouri, Kevin Bookout of Oklahoma State and possibly even Ed Nelson of UConn.

John – The other part of the question was in regards to Duke's chances to land the big guy. Truthfully I think a lot depends on the September 9th in-home visit with Coach K and staff. The family has yet to meet Krzyzewski and Jon has never been to North Carolina, let alone Duke.

Right now my money is on UCLA having the inside track. He seemed to really enjoy his time there, and Ben Howland's style of play while coaching at Pittsburgh seems to be a good fit for him. Couple that with the opportunity to rebuild a once proud program and you've got most of the pitch.

Still, if Coach K can work some magic, then there's no telling where he'll end up casting his lot. However at this point I think the Devils are in a slightly up-hill battle.

Which do you feel is the better prospect? Boateng or Bynum?

Clint -- You used a great word in that question....PROSPECT. Both are tremendous prospects. Neither is ready to be "the man" on a high major roster just yet.

You see, with Eric Boateng, you've got an athlete. A 6-10 live body with quick feet, ropes for arms and a desire to learn. He's got a ways to go to be a consistent contributor in the points column -- but the kid has a FANTASTIC work ethic. He wants to learn, he's eager to try new things and he gives 100% at all times. And that's about all a coaching staff can ask for. And he's a shot blocker extraordinaire.

As for Andrew Bynum -- he's a mountain of man. His frame (7-0, 280 pounds) and size are just so appealing. He just clogs a lane and can almost cover the entire painted area by himself just by standing with his arms out. He's not an elite level athlete like Boateng is, but he's much stronger and won't be pushed around under the basket. He really started to evolve into a presence as the summer went on and lots of analysts rated him much higher than they did at the beginning of the circuit.

He simply causes fits for the opposition with his size, but I think Bynum could be foul prone in college due to his somewhat slow reactions.

For the record -- I feel like Andrew Bynum may be able to contribute to an elite-high major program more quickly, but I firmly believe that Boateng has a higher ceiling because of his agility and work ethic.

Who do you like better... Gerald Henderson or Wayne Ellington, and why?

Clint -- Wow. That's a tough one. Both of those kids are tremendous basketball prospects.

I fell in love with Ellington the first time I laid eyes on him. He's cut in the Daniel Ewing mold because he's both a great shooter as well as a tremendous slasher. He's got a fantastic handle, oodles of speed, a nice feel for the game and he's confident in his abilities.

Plus....guess what? Here's a kid who actually enjoys playing defense. Imagine that?

As for Henderson -- he's bigger and probably the better finisher in transition (see: dunk). He's a real smooth operator out there who shoots it well and has a great basketball body to boot. And his father played in the NBA, so the genes are there. His scores from many spots on the floor and utilizes a mid range jumper to perfection. Isn't that a lost art? Not so with Henderson.

But since you asked me a direct question about my preference -- I'd take Henderson and cross my fingers that I made the right choice.

Does Duke lead for John Scheyer?

Clint -- Yes. No doubt about it. He's enamored with Duke and the staff has offered him a scholarship now. It's only a matter of time in my opinion.

How much do you think McClure and Nelson can realistically be expected to contribute as freshmen?

Clint -- Quite honestly, I think they both see quite a bit of playing time as freshmen. And I think Nelson might see some time as a starter. I've seen enough of him to know that he has what it takes to be a sparkplug offensively. I just can't see anyone being able to stay in front of him on defense, much less prevent his 6-4, 217 pounds of mass from getting into the lane.

He's like a dribbling fullback who'll go through folks in the lane. This is a new breed of athlete for Duke fans.

I think the key with Nelson is to continue to refine his ball-handling abilities and make sure that he's taking good shots in the flow of the game. He's just too good to be spending a lot of time on the pine.

And with McClure -- I think he sees duty at both forward spots off the bench. He's going to have to be able to help out in the paint a lot this year due to depth concerns and I think he'll be called upon to make some things happen off the dribble as well.

This is a good player folks, and I think he's going to be better than most people think. He's not a master at anything, but he does everything well.

John – So far in pick up games no one on the roster has been able to prevent DeMarcus from doing whatever he wants on the offensive end. He's simply too strong for smaller guards and too quick for bigger defenders. Perhaps the biggest adjustment he's going to have to make will be playing against one defender instead of the three that continually dogged him in high school. If Daniel Ewing slides to the point guard slot some, I can see Nelson starting by the midway point of the season, at the latest.

With McClure I see a player who will probably surprise a lot of Duke fans with the way he competes. He's not going to wow you, but he's a guy who can come in and contribute and not lose a game with sub-standard play. His ability to battle in the paint and defend bigger players will be invaluable if Shelden and Shavlik remain foul prone.

Will a commitment from Eric Boateng affect Brockman?

John -- I am sure it would give him pause, but look at the Duke depth chart in the post next season: You've got Shavlik Randolph as a senior, Josh McRoberts as a freshman, Jamal Boykin as a combo forward freshman. That's it. Needless to say there's playing time for all and if you read what Clint said about Boateng, it could be his sophomore or even junior season before he's ready to become a high caliber ACC center.

Brockman would certainly have a chance to play early and often should he choose Duke. He with McRoberts would be a bit like Chris Bosh and Ed Nelson at Georgia Tech or Okafor and Boone at UConn.

Why will Duke likely stop recruiting Durant if he goes to Oak Hill?

John -- Simple: They won't. The worry with Durant is the NBA, not where he's going to high school. Steve Smith is great when it comes to finding the correct "fit" for his players in college. Duke's style of play would allow Durant to thrive.

Is Brandan Wright this year's Dwight Howard?

John – You mean other than Greg Oden?

Yes the buzz on Wright is that he's got one eye on the league, but with his skill set and the current market of taking high school players. Can you blame him?

Do you still think Duke strongly leads for Boateng?

John - Yes. However I think the feeling isn't as strong as it was in the early summer. That's probably just anxiousness after the events of the spring with the NBA. Simply put the coaching staff cannot put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to post players. If Boateng is content to look around, he has to know that Duke won't sit idly by waiting for him to make up his mind. The need to add big men is too great.

Are we looking at another PG prospect in '06, or will we be comfortable with Paulus being the only one on the roster?

John - Come 2006 there will be need for someone else who can handle the ball. However I think it'll come in the form of a combo guard, perhaps there's something to this Lewis Clinch stuff?

Note: Premium subscribers to can ask further questions on our premium message boards at their convenience.

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