Blue Devils Recruiting Roundup

Towards the end of the season we polled out premium members for their most burning questions surrounding the Blue Devils' recruiting efforts. Questions on which prospects in the class of 2006 Duke is likely to add; what's the true value of the top rated haul of 2005? What surprises are in store? With the help of's Dave Telep, <I>TDD</I> investigates.

Which recruits are Duke's best bets in the 2006 class?

Dave Telep: Tough question. Here's what I know. If Duke were able to secure a recruiting class that included Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas and Gerald Henderson, the fellas back in Durham would be extremely happy. Now, we know that they are going to pursue Brandan Wright to the very end as well and if they landed the first three then Wright would be the luxury recruit.

TDD: I think you have to add in Brian Zoubek as well. But Dave is right on target with those initial four.

How far under the radar is Marty Pocius? Could he not possibly the the one recruit to send us into a totally different level next year?

Telep: From the looks and sounds of it, Pocius will be able to play at Duke, but I don't think anyone is under the impression that he will single handedly take them to the next level. I think that's probably asking a bit too much. If he can be a regular rotation guy on what is going to be an outstanding team -- that would be terrific.

How does McRoberts skills as a high school senior compare to that of Shavlik Randolph.

Telep: Different. McRoberts enters Duke on the upswing of his career and completely healthy. Shavlik wasn't as fortunate healthwise and had begun to level out, in retrospect, as a prospect. McRoberts' best days are ahead of him. Shav is more skill and knew how to really score while Josh is more power and still figuring out the intricacies of being a go to scorer. It's important to note that Josh's scoring average rose significantly as a senior; a sign that he was becoming comfortable in the role of go to guy.

Is Mr. Boateng really THAT much of a project? He seems to be putting up phenomenal numbers.

Telep: The numbers he posted in high school were against poor competition in a small state and I can say that because I'm a native of Delaware. Eric needs to be receive college level coaching and strength and conditioning. He's a prospect who needs to be nurtured along because 1) he's got talent and 2) he's coachable. Great kid who will run through a wall for Coach K.

Can you give some detail about Paulus and his ability to play defense at this level? We have heard a great deal about his offensive set of skills, but will he be hampered with the defensive side of things?

Telep: All I know is this: Greg has played against the best players in the country and looked outstanding doing it. Can he guard Dee Brown night in and night out? That would be asking a lot. As you know, half of defense is about committing yourself to it and being tough. He's not the fastest guy but I wouldn't want to have to fight him.

When are Lance Thomas and Henderson likely to make their decisions?

Telep: Henderson could happen this month or go through the summer, it's that precarious. Thomas seems like a guy intent on taking some fall visits or at least getting through the summer.

Likelihood of the age-limit being passed?

Telep: Split depending on whom you talk to. I think an age limit passes but with restrictions. They'll form a committee to evaluate the guys and if he's a lottery kid they'll let him in. The NBA WANTS a kid like Greg oden in its league.

If the age limit passes, how do our priorities for 2006 change? If we go after Young and Wright, would we lay off Thomas, Henderson, and/or Zoubek?

TDD: Not much at all. In an ideal world I think Duke would take Scheyer, Henderson, Zoubek, Thomas, and Wright and all of them could play together. The question becomes do Lance and Brandan believe that? Duke would look at Young as well I'm sure.

Immediate impact freshmen at Duke and in the ACC in general next year?

Telep: McRoberts and Hansbrough are the horses and Paulus plays a huge role as well. If you are looking for a sleeper, I'll go with Lewis Clinch at Georgia Tech.

Whose game does Brian Zoubek best resemble?

Telep: He's a guy who values halfcourt basketball because he needs his touches. I'm horrible with comparisons unless they just stick out. He's improved his mobility and is a skilled guy.

Has the staff really moved Zoubek up the priority list recently? Are we still as strong with him as we used to be? When is he likely to decide?

TDD: Right now you can add Zoubek into the list of names on the "likely to receive an offer". He's visiting for the team banquet and will likely receive that offer at that time. He's a very big kid at 7'1 and 260 pounds. As the old adage goes – you can't teach that kind of size.

Are we still talking to Kyle Singler? Would they try to bring in both him and Gani Lawal?

Telep: Singler and Lawal are different positions and both could be recruited by Duke. Devils still on both.

TDD: Yes Duke is still on both of them. Kyle Singler is a Duke-type kid and they will certainly look at him. That kid is going to be an incredible addition to which ever program lands him. He's got a poise on the court that reminds a number of people of Dunleavy – and he's got the game to make him the complete package. As far as Lawal goes: He's going to grow to around 6'10, is skilled, and is athletic. If that's not enough, he's very high on Duke. Very high. I'd say it's a no brainer that they'll stay with him.

Assuming an age limit, what are the odds that Thaddeus Young, Brandan Wright or Greg Oden come to Duke? Or two of them? Or all of them?

Telep: Slim and none. Oden follows Conley and Duke isn't recruiting him so that messes up your equation overall. Now, Duke is not on Thad Young very hard at this point, at least that the message out of his camp lately. I think they have an excellent shot with Wright.

How good is Young?

Telep: Big time good. Athletic, skilled, a lefty with bounce and scoring ability. From my perspective, Duke has done little in terms of putting a full press on him. There is time but they haven't tipped their hand on him yet.

In a recent article, you mentioned you thought Ellington and Henderson will decide soon and not play at the same school or in the same conference. Does that mean you believe Gerald is favoring Villanova? Why or why not.

Telep: It means I believe that as of right now, if one picked an ACC school (Duke or UNC) I could see Villanova getting the other one. Basically, I don't see both of them leaving home to play 15 minutes down the road from one another. Villanova is recruiting Ellington hard to you know. This one is getting interesting!!!!

Why does Duke extend offers to recruits so much later than so many other programs, or at least seem to?

TDD: It all depends on perception. A Duke offer means you are one of the best players in the country and you've caught the eye of the best coach in the game. Unlike other programs who offer and pay attention to everyone rated among the top 30, Duke zeros in on a select few and offers those kids. Plus, Coach K will never offer a kid without meeting him face to face.

What is your vision of duke's lineup/roster the next three seasons?

Next year I think you'll see the top eight in the rotation as Redick, Williams, Randolph, Dockery, Nelson, McRoberts, Paulus, and Pocius. I think you'll also see contributions off the bench from Melchionni and Boykin. Boateng will also be able to be brought along in late game situations. In 2006-2007 Duke is once again a young team and in need of a big class (in 2006) with only seven scholarship players on the roster.

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