Two Great Classes In The Triangle

Duke's recruiting class has been called the Super Six and has been compared to Michigan's legendary Fab Five.&nbsp; With the unexpected decision of a UNC football recruit to play basketball instead, though, UNC has a six-man class which rivals Duke's. Who did better?</p>

Duke's recruiting class has been called the Super Six and has been compared to Michigan's legendary Fab Five.  With the unexpected decision of a UNC football recruit to play basketball instead, though, UNC has a six-man class which rivals Duke's. Who did better?

Duke UNC
Michael Thompson Damion Grant
Shelden Williams Sean May
Shavlik Randolph Byron Sanders
J.J. Redick Rashad McCants
Sean Dockery Raymond Felton
Lee Melchionni David Noel

The easy answer (and the correct one) is it's too soon to tell. But that's no fun, so let's look a bit closer.

Both teams recruited, essentially, a starting five plus a reserve. 

As of today, you could probably argue that UNC wins in the backcourt, while Duke has recruited the stronger frontcourt.  Both Damion Grant, who is 7-1, and Bryon Sanders, who is 6-9 and who bears a certain facial resemblance to Terence Morris, are considered talents but not out-of-the-box ready talents. Sean May, however, is.  He has made a strong impression on fans and critics alike, with suprising agility for a guy so big.  Ben Sherman calls him a more skilled Elton Brand.  That's saying a lot.

Fortunately for Duke, they'll be able to counter with 6-10 Michael Thompson, 6-9 Shelden Williams, and 6-9 Shavlik Randolph.  Williams is the most highly regarded of this group. Nicknamed the Landlord, for his ability to evict shots, Williams is a power forward with some small forward skills.

Thompson is a low post force, and he's dramatically improved his game over the last year.  In fact, it's now hard to remember that people thought Duke was in some way desperate when they took him, having missed on a few other big men. Duke saw the potential though, and Thompson's game is growing by leaps and bounds.

Shavlik Randolph, at 6-9, has unusual skills to say the least.  Unlike a lot of young big men, he works on all his fundamentals religiously, preferring solo workouts to pickup ball (that may change once he gets to Duke).  He falls somewhere between Mike Dunleavy and Danny Ferry, a tall guy with perimeter skills and a sweet shot.  He'll become a very versatile weapon.

Still, Grant and Sanders are both talented, particularly Sanders, and they could emerge as important players.

UNC's three perimeter players are tremendously athletic and may hold a significant advantage over Duke's trio.  Raymond Felton has been compared to Alan Iverson and that's pretty heady stuff.  He's going to be really, really good.  How good will he be as a freshman? Hard to say. He's from little Latta, but his game is big-time. But it took Jason Williams some time to adapt to college, and it may take Felton a bit as well.  But mark it down - he's the next great guard in the ACC.

Rashad McCants comes to UNC with the reputation of a warrior.  He's become an intense defender and a guy other teams (and their fans) love to hate.  Watch the Crazies hone in on him, and see how he handles it.  Some do better than others. Mike O' Koren always let the crowd get to him in Cameron, for instance.

Both schools have a wildcard walkon, though both are recruited players.  In Duke's case, there's not a spot yet for Melchionni, but his father played at Duke, and is very successful, and he'll pay for Lee's freshman year. 

Melchionni is a kid who generates wildly different opinions. Some say he's way over his head, but others point to his savvy and ability to help his team, and say he's got a bit of Dunleavy in him.  We'll see. We are pretty optimistic about his career.  We always like kids who can contribute and who have solid skills.

Sean Dockery is a fairly critical recruit, and he hasn't qualified yet.  Preferred over point guards like Florida-bound Anthony Roberson,  Dockery is a guy who takes care of the ball and puts pressure on it defensively.   In head-to-head games he hasn't done that well against Felton, but Duke-UNC is never a one-on-one affair. 

UNC's class will likely look better on first glance, if only because they are so desperately needed.  Down the road, though, it's going to be close as to which one is better.

 


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