Telep: Duke's Class In Top Three

After the good news came from Lance Thomas on Thursday afternoon, the immediate questions resonating from the Duke fan base ranged from "what does Thomas bring to the Devils" to "just how good is this guy?" TDD went to's Dave Telep with these questions and more.

How close to the wire did the Lance Thomas decision come?

Dave Telep: Very Close. I think the push was made by Rutgers and he listened probably until the morning of the last day. His uncle was adamant in stating that this went down to the wire.

You mentioned Rutgers made up serious ground near the end? How so?

I think they were way behind when Gary Waters lost his job. They then had to regroup and start recruiting him over again and they made up ground. They made the kid seriously think about the decision. He was the pied piper to be for Rutgers and they nearly sold him on how important it was.

Where does this class rank alongside the Ohio States and North Carolinas of the world?

Behind those two collections of talent but probably solidly in third place. Duke has an outstanding group of kids who should really give the Blue Devils plenty of boost.

One major difference seems to be that both the Buckeyes and Tar Heels are likely to suffer early defections quicker than the Blue Devils. Does that change the long term comparisons?

It's tough to project because a school might lose two All-Americans and replace them with two more so comparing in that sense doesn't make much sense. Are there more "early" pros in the UNC class? I think there are. Ohio State has a lock early pro in Oden and one likely in Cook. The probability that Duke's class stays together longer is higher than both of those two, but again measuring classes based on how long they stay together is an interesting debate.

From a continuity standpoint, it's a terrific thing and probably means a lot of wins. However, to me losing recruits from your class early to the NBA is a good problem to have provided you have the opportunity to at least profile what the future looks like and plan according. Duke signed three Top 25 prospects per Statistics tell me that 66% of Top 25 players earn NBA paychecks so that means its probable two of these guys are earners. When? That's to be determined.

What part of Thomas' skill set do you think will help him immediately at Duke? What needs to be developed?

Every kid who comes to college has work and needs development so that's a question that applies to everyone. In this case, I think Henderson, Thomas and Scheyer will be ready to go immediately. Zoubek will be there too but his deal depends on how he adapts to the style and pace of what they are going to do. Every kid is college ready in that he's equipped to play early in his career.

Was there a moment that stuck out from this recruitment as memorable?

There were many twists and turns. I'll have to pass on this one.

With Thomas in the fold, who do you think becomes a top priority in 2007?

Blake Griffin is and will remain a major priority. Gary Johnson is a young man they love as well and we all know how they feel about Kyle Singler.

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