Class of 2008:
Though the class of 2008 is signed and already on campus in Durham, it's important to review how the threesome of Olek Czyz, Elliot Williams, and Miles Plumlee (pictured right) came to fruition as well as how the three signings will impact the subsequent classes of 2009 and 2010.
Throughout most of the season the top recruiting target was Louisiana big man Greg Monroe. The Blue Devils were constantly mentioned as one of the leading candidates to land the 6-foot-10, 220lbs all-star. However, in mid-October Monroe picked Georgetown, leaving Duke with commitments from Williams in the backcourt and Czyz in the frontcourt.
It seemed as though Duke would be looking to to heavily recruit post players in the class of 2009 in order to make up for landing just one post player (Czyz) from the classes of 2007-2008. That was until Miles Plumlee, then a Stanford commitment, was released from his Letter of Intent after the Cardinal changed coaches in April. Plumlee made it official for Duke on May 1st which set up the strategy in 2009.
Class of 2009:
Prior to his older brother committing to play in Durham, Mason Plumlee had already verballed to Duke on February 27th after making a pair of unofficial visits. At the time Plumlee was ranked as the No. 39 overall prospect in the class of 2009 behind former Blue Devil big forward targets such as Florida commits Erik Murphy and DeShawn Painter, as well as UCLA's Reeves Nelson, and Georgetown's DaShonte Riley. After shedding the weight and pressure of the recruiting process, Plumlee was free to concentrate on basketball - which fueled a sensational high school and AAU season to date. How good has the younger Plumlee been? Good enough to move all the way into five star status and a No. 12 national ranking according to Scout.com's Dave Telep.
With Czyz, and the two Plumlee brothers committed, the Blue Devils will enter the 2009-2010 season with six post players on the roster - seniors Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas; junior Kyle Singler; sophomores Miles Plumlee and Olek Czyz; and freshman Mason Plumlee. Obviously Singler could have opted for early entry by this time, though it appears the 6-foot-9 rising sophomore will be a three year player. With so many post players on the projected roster, the Blue Devils have focused on wings and the backcourt.
The top overall target of 2009 is Florida guard Kenny Boynton - who recently visited the Blue Devils unofficially to spend time getting to know the coaching staff and current Duke players. According to Telep, the belief among his various sources is that Duke and Florida are ahead of Texas, Georgia Tech, and Memphis in the race to land Boynton.
After Plumlee and Boynton the size of the overall class has fluctuated from no additional prospects to another two prospects. Names such as Terrell Vinson, Jamil Wilson, Nick Russell, Abdul Gaddy, and even John Wall have been bandied about in various forums. Of those names, it appears that Wilson continues to be the most likely to garner an offer - however, due to the five star wing's determination to not make a decision until March of 2009, there is a longer timetable for the Duke coaching staff to work with.
Another 2009 name to emerge is New Hampshire big forward Thomas Robinson (pictured above, right) (6'8, 220) out of Brewster Academy. Robinson made a big impression on the Duke coaches including head coach Mike Krzyzewski on July 9th at the Reebok Camp by using his impressive physical frame to throw down a number of powerful dunks on one end, and to hunt down shots to block on the defensive side. The recruiting process is still new with Robinson, but after some due diligence done at Brewster, it's entirely likely that Robinson could emerge as a potential third or fourth target for the Blue Devils.
Class of 2010:
In recent years the Blue Devils have not officially offered many players not in the current senior class. That's not the case this season as Duke has already extended five offers to the current crop of juniors, and received one commitment in the form of Virginia shooting guard Andre Dawkins. The other four offers are in the hands of Iowa small forward Harrison Barnes (6'6, 200); Florida point guard Brandon Knight - pictured right - (6'3, 175); Washington center Josh Smith (6'9, 280), and Virginia power forward Josh Hairston (6'9, 215).
To say the Blue Devils are shooting for the moon in the class of 2010 is an understatement. Smith is rated as the No. 3 overall prospect. Knight is fifth. Barnes is ranked No. 6. Dawkins checks in at No. 18, while Hairston is rated as the nation's 24th best prospect by Scout.com. By the time the fall of 2009 rolls around it's likely that Duke will have offers out to five five-star players (Scout has only rated the top 15 in the class of 2010 as 5 stars). And that number could grow. Sources indicate the plan for 2010 could be for Duke to land five, or even six prospects in the class of 2010.
Those players who have not yet been offered in the class of 2010, but who have garnered heavy Duke interest include 6'2 Washington D.C. point guard Tyler Thornton (ranked 47th in the country); 6'8 Massachusetts power forward Nate Lubick; 6'5 Connecticut small forward Jason Morris; 6'8 New York Center Will Regan; and 6'1 Michigan point guard Ray McCallum. Each of which will continue to be evaluated as the recruiting process unfolds.