Early Commits Fuel 2010 Momentum

Much has been made of Duke's big weekend of two weeks ago when Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton joined Andre Dawkins as members of Duke's class of 2010. Though the two additional commits were hardly a surprise to many Blue Devil faithful, their importance to the program's future cannot be understated.

"We're trying to build something for our careers at Duke," said Andre Dawkins. "I've been working on some of the guys letting them know that Duke is the place to be in 2010. As soon as I knew Josh and Tyler had committed I called Harrison [Barnes] just to let him know and to tell him how we need him to round things out."

Such recruiting amongst AAU rivals and friends is common these days and certainly played a part in the recruitment of both of Duke's newest commits - Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton.

"I had been talking to Andre and hearing from some of the other guys up until the point I committed," said Hairston. "You can really tell that Duke is more than just a bunch of really good players. The guys like being around one another and it's a team on and off the court."

"With me I had been kind of pushing to have Josh and I going to school together," adds Thornton. "And we both knew Andre and are close with him. It's going to give us all a comfort level when we make the transition to college, which helps team chemistry out from the start."

Such a comfort level and chemistry and other buzz words that indicate a cohesive unit will be extremely important for Duke during the 2010-2011 season as most of the current roster will have moved on from Durham either via graduate or expected early entry into the NBA Draft.

"The coaches have talked about our class being the cornerstone of the next generation of Duke basketball players," said Dawkins. "We are all working hard to make sure we can continue the legacy there. For me that means continuing to stay in-shape and working hard every day. Being a Duke commit means people will be gunning for me every time out, but that's a great motivator."

"We know that our class has a chance to be special," adds Hairston. "That's why we are working individually on our games, and working to keep Duke on the minds of the other players the coaches are really working on. We want to hit the ground running when we all get there."

It's hardly a secret that Florida point guard Brandon Knight and Iowa's Barnes are the two players targeted by the Blue Devil coaching staff to finish out the quintet of recruits in 2010. And if the various recruitniks are aware of such plans, it's fair to say that there have been conversations regarding those plans with the three commits.

"We're all working on those guys in our own way," said Dawkins. "While we were on the visit I talked to Harrison several times and have sent him text messages as well. I've also talked to some of the other players they are recruiting - just keeping Duke fresh."

"I'm friends with Josh Smith and I've talked to Kenny Boynton some as well," adds Hairston. "I am just helping them see that we are building something at Duke and want them to be a part of it."

"Being part of a program where you know the guys you are playing with is a great advantage and with Coach K I am sure we're going to to great things when we get to school. We want to help build that experience any way we can."

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