Devils Lands Three Prospects In Early Period

After landing the nation's top rated recruiting class a season ago, the Blue Devil coaching staff has once again placed themselves among the nation's elite with three commitments in the class of 2007.

Each of the three commitments have signed their National Letters of Intent according to sources close to the situation. Those letters are expected to be in the hands of the Duke basketball office sometime today.

The trio of Kyle Singler, Taylor King, and Nolan Smith is currently considered the nation's third best haul behind Kansas State and Syracuse according to Scout.com's national analyst Dave Telep.

Of course that ranking could very well improve and challenge the Wildcats for the top spot if West Virginia's Patrick Patterson (rated No. 11 overall) becomes a late addition for the Blue Devils. Patterson has indicated that he will make a Spring decision.

According to Telep, Singler will be the top newcomer to next year's ACC. Scout's National Recruiting Director currently ranks the Medford (Ore.) product as the top small forward in the country and the nation's No. 4 overall prospect.

"That kid is blessed with great length and skills -- he's a unique forward," said Telep of Singler. "He's just got a terrific overall floor game, approach and basketball IQ. There aren't a ton of knocks on his game and that's really odd for a high school kid. One real intangible around his game is the level of poise he plays with. He's never rattled or startled. He's always in control, and just makes the game seem a lot easier than it should be. Few can do that at this age."

Complimenting Singler's all around brillance is California's Taylor King, one of the nation's top perimeter threats.

"King has big time ability shooting the basketball," said Telep. "He plays with tremendous confidence on the perimeter, and his size allows him to get his shot off easier than most."

King, who stands 6-foot-8 and has a seven foot wingspan, averaged 29 points and 15 rebounds per game as a junior for Mater Dei High last season while shooting 45% from the field and 80% from the foul line.

After committing to UCLA as an eigth grader and then de-committing into his high school career, King finally earned a Duke offer at the Myrtle Beach AAU event last summer. There he poured in 35 points in front of Mike Krzyzewski, UNC's Roy Williams, and Villanova's Jay Wright.

"Coach K and I talked after that," said King "and Duke officially offered. The one thing about Coach K is that he's going to play it straight with you. He's not going to lie or mislead you about anything. He's a very compassionate person. As long as you come in and do what he asks of you, you'll be just fine with him."

King is rated as the nation's No. 7 small forward and the No. 36 overall prospect.

Rounding out the current class is Oak Hill Academy's 6-foot-2 combo guard Nolan Smith. The son of a former NBA standout, shot 62% from the floor and 81% from the line as a junior for the Warriors, while averaging 17.0 points and 7.4 assists per game. This season he's already off to a strong start, impressing several college assistants as Oak Hill begins their annual national prep schedule.

In the opener against Hargrave, Smith led the Warriors with 29 points, but it was his overall floor game that had those in attendance "wowed".

"I don't think Nolan Smith has made the wrong play yet," said one assistant college coach in his praise of Smith to Telep. "At both ends, Smith wore guys out. He back cut Dorenzo Hudson for a hoop then locked his man down on defense."

Despite being long considered a Louisville lean, Smith committed to the Blue Devils on January 12th citing a comfort level achieved when he visited the Campus earlier in the season. Since that time he has had a chance to get to know the Duke coaches and players one a more personal level, which only solidified his decision.

"A lot of people only know Coach K by what they see on TV. There he's this really intense and really fiery coach who is always demanding his players give him everything they have. That's only part of who he is. People should know that Coach K is really a jokester and a funny guy."

An example of K's humor?

"I walked into his office the other night and started talking to him. I was in street clothes and he stopped me mid-sentence and starting joking me on my shirt. He's a funny guy, and he takes jokes as well as he gives them."

Like Singler and King, Smith says he envisions himself finding a role early in his career in Durham.

"They think I can come in and be a lot like Johnny Dawkins was. Right now I'm going in to play the two-guard role while being able to slide over and take the one. Greg Paulus will still be there when I arrive and he's the point guard, but he can't play every minute of every game, so they need a guy like me to be able to slide over and help out."

Smith is currently rated as the nation's #10 shooting guard and the No. 31 overall prospect in the nation according to Scout.


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