Hairston Talks Recruiting; Will Visit Soon

With an upcoming unofficial visit to Duke looming next weekend, four star power forward Josh Hairston appears to be hitting the home stretch of his recruitment. On Tuesday night the 6-foot-8, 200lbs Spotsylvania (Va.) Courtland High standout spoke with TDD about his scheduled visits, his timetable, and which way he sees the recruiting process going from this point forward.

"Right now I am going to head to Virginia this weekend to watch the football game, and then I'll be going to Duke on September 13th with my family," says Josh Hairston. "I am really looking forward to getting back down to Duke after our last visit. We all had a great time and I think it'll be even better next weekend."

It was during that last unofficial visit that Hairston had his first chance to sit down with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff to talk about the Blue Devils' interest in Hairston. But thankfully the first person the Blue Devil leader addressed wasn't Josh, but his mother.

"It was one of the defining moments of the recruiting process for me - one of those moments that I had to step back and say 'Wow this is happening'. I was so thankful that he spoke to my mother first because all I could think when he walked in was 'this is a legend and he wants me to play for him'. If he'd had said something to me right then, I don't think I could have said anything at that point."

Those nerves were soon gone and Hairston began talking about the possibility of joining the Duke program as the second member of the class of 2010.

"They've talked to me about playing in the frontcourt and rotating between the three, four, and five spots. I can play wherever they'd need me to play. Coach K sees me as a guy who can play multiple positions. I love to go in and rebound and can face up or mix it up in the paint. There are a lot of things I'm decent at, but I need to continue to improve in areas as well. Coach K talked about how he sees me fitting in."

As with most recruits, the Duke head coach likened this newest potential Blue Devil with one he's already had a chance to coach and utilize.

"He sees me being similar to Kyle Singler. I've watched Kyle on TV and can see that. He's a great player who can play all over the court and he's going to be successful whenever he goes to the NBA. If I keep working and improving, I would love to be able to be on that level."

And what does he believe needs to be improved in his game?

"I need to be a more vocal leader on the floor. My AAU coach is always telling me to speak up and control the court. In the past I've been more of a silent, lead by example guy, so I am trying to improve there."

When he visits Duke, he won't be the only player making the trip down either as the Blue Devils will be hosting fellow 2010 prospects Tyler Thornton and Andre Dawkins, as well as 2009 commit Mason Plumlee.

"Tyler and I have a great relationship as do Andre and I. We all talk pretty regularly. Andre is always trying to get me to commit early to Duke, and I am sure he'll be doing that a lot as we get down there. We've all talked about playing together in college and it's something that is appealing to each of us."

"Duke is going to bring in a big class in 2010, and I think we'd all like to be part of it. They are going to be losing a lot of upperclassmen that year and so they need to reload and they are doing a great job recruiting our class so far. We'd probably have five or six guys from our year coming in."

With plans for such a big class and potentially such a young team for the 2010-2011 season, and given the reaction of opposing fans whenever they see a Duke uniform, early chances to see the floor appear plentiful although it may come with a price.

"I went down to the Maryland-Duke game last year at College Park and those people do not like Duke at all. It was crazy. The amount of stuff they hear is just crazy, but I think people hate them because they are always good. It's like the Yankees - people either love them or hate them, but either way they are usually winning and competing to be at the top."

Though setting up the visit to Duke was something that Hairston had hoped to get done early in the fall, it wasn't until he spoke with Coach K before the Team USA Coach left for China that he had everything finalized. Over the next two weeks he watched as Krzyzewski guided the team to a gold medal.

"It was great watching him get those 12 players to play as a cohesive unit and to play hard on the defensive end of the floor. That's a testament to him being a great coach. He called me a few times while he was in China and left messages. He spoke really highly of the players like Kobe and LeBron - telling me about their work ethic and how great the practices were. A lot of people thought the practices were better than the game because Coach had them all playing so hard. Winning a gold medal was huge - when you consider they only got bronze last time."

With his two unofficials set up, Hairston says he can see a light at the end of the recruiting tunnel. He has targeted a commitment date that falls "before the start of basketball season", which means his timeline is growing shorter by the day.

"I really want to go ahead and get it done so I can relax and enjoy my season and then enjoy my last summer of AAU ball. I don't want to worry about the process or talking to schools or telling schools 'thanks but no thanks'. Getting it behind me is going to be a relief and will allow me to practice and work hard to get ready to go to the next level."

In addition to considering Duke and Virginia, Hairston says he's also looking at Georgetown, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Memphis. All of which have offered. However, he has no visits scheduled in the near future.

For undergrad Hairston says he's targeting something in the Sports Management field.

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