Recruiting 2005: Now What?

When Seattle power forward Jon Brockman finally made it official for Washington yesterday, it came as no surprise to many Duke fans. However there is uncertainty surrounding what the Blue Devils will do to finish out the class of 2005 in the front court. TDD sat down with <I>TheInsiders</I>' Dave Telep to get his thoughts.

While losing out on the five star Brockman, there isn't too much cause for concern in Durham according to Telep. In fact the recruiting miss probably won't impact the Devils much, if at all.

"I don't think it means too much for them in the big picture," said Telep. "It's not like Duke didn't land Eric Boateng and Josh McRoberts -- a pair of elite big men in this class. Now, that's not to say Brockman wouldn't have helped, but it wasn't disastrous by any means. One of the big downsides is that it means Duke is going to have to recruit a very good player in 2006."

While recruiting a very good player in 2006 won't be anything out of the ordinary for Duke, there were some other attractive attributes about Brockman.

"See, Brockman wasn't going to the league out of high school or maybe even after two years of college, so that was appealing. Now, Duke has to be careful in 2006 because there are a lot of early entry candidates and that narrows their pool some."

But before Duke heads to the gold mines in 2006, there are still some very good looking targets to pursue in the class of 2005. Most notably there is 6-foot-8, 220lbs power forward Uche Echefu of Montrose Christian Academy, who isn't expected to make his college decision until the spring signing period, giving Duke enough time to mount a full court recruiting press.

Telep believes that replacing Brockman with Echefu offers much of what Duke would need to round out a great class in 2005.

"Echefu is a good player -- a kid who continues to develop and get better. He's a different player than Brockman and, frankly, a guy I think is undervalued. Duke would be fortunate to land him and he'd be a heck of a player for them."

However Echefu is still learning the game and is considered raw, though Telep believes he is the type of elite athlete who could step in early and contribute at an elite level such as Duke and the ACC.

"He can play as a freshman at that level," said Telep. "He's working on his face-up game and is a good athlete. The kid is getting great tutelage at Montrose, so he'll be ready to player wherever he goes."

And should Duke be fortunate enough to win the recruiting battle for Echefu over schools such as Kentucky, Florida State, Michigan, Virginia, Arizona, and others, what would he add to an already strong recruiting haul in '05?

"Security in that Duke could then afford to go after a big timer in 2006 and not fear losing him to the league. Plus the fact that Uche can play and be a contributor. He'd be an excellent addition to an already stellar recruiting class."

And if Echefu decides to go elsewhere, are there any other big guys who would be willing to listen to Duke in the class of 2005?

"Plenty willing to listen, but I'm not seeing a high school big man that makes sense for Duke, other than Uche, at this point.

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