Bledsoe Talks Duke; State Playoffs

Late last week the news broke that the Blue Devil coaching staff was back on the recruiting trail in the class of 2009 in hopes of finding a talented, uncommitted, lead guard. Topping the list of available players is Birmingham (Ala.) Parker High standout Eric Bledsoe. On Monday night the four star prospect spoke with TDD about he surge of Duke interest.

"Right now I've been getting a lot of new interest," said Eric Bledsoe. "I'm hearing a lot from Tennessee, Florida, Memphis, Kentucky, UAB, Alabama, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Oregon, South Florida, and now Duke is getting involved. It's been pretty busy over the last few weeks."

The Blue Devils, who have made a history of arriving late to recruiting processes only to immediately become a facto, are looking to pull something similar with Bledsoe. And, as they did with McDonald's All-American power forward Ryan Kelly in the fall, the program's history may create an inroad early on.

"I actually grew up a Duke fan and I still am one. I remember watching Nate James playing on some of their great teams, so when I saw him in the stands at my game I was really excited. It's a great feeling to know that they are interested in me."

Before James headed down to watch that playoff game in which Bledsoe contributed 11 points, three assists, five steals, he and head coach Mike Krzyzewski had a chance to speak with Eric via phone.

"When you are a fan of a program and then you are getting a chance to have a guy like Coach K call - it's big. Right now I know that Duke wants me to come in and visit and learn more about the program. I want to do that after my season is over. Get up there and really learn about the program and see what it's all about as a player and not just a fan."

Described by's Dave Telep as a pass first point guard with a quick first step and solid handle, Bledsoe checks in at 6-foot-1 and 185lbs and has helped his team to a 27-5 overall record this year and a state play-off Final Four berth by averaging 21 points, eight assists, and five rebounds per game. This week that Final Four berth will come against another big time Alabama prospect - DeMarcus Cousins.

"Honestly we're excited for that game and to play against him. He's a great player, but we're going to try and push the pace because he doesn't have the stamina to get up and down the court as fast as we want to play."

A fast paced, up tempo style is not only what Bledsoe is looking to employ this weekend - but also at the next level.

"I like to run on offense. I really want to go somewhere that uses an uptempo game. I try to use some of Chris Paul's game - the way he cna get his teammates involved and the way he's not afraid to take the big shot if he has to. I've got a pretty good first step and handle, but I know I need to work on my jumpshot."

As he finishes up his high school season, Bledsoe admits the recruiting process will continue become more and more of an issue. However, since he's signing in the late signing period, the talented guard has time to space out official visits and the rest of the process.

"I want to take all five official visits and then try to make a decision soon after. I want to go somewhere that has a coaching staff that I relate to, but one that will help me get better so I can play at the next level. I am also looking to find somewhere that will get me a good degree for when basketball is over."

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