Whatever the reason, Deerfield (Ill.) High School standout Duje Dukan – a 6-8 wing and member of the 2010 class – simply isn't racking up scholarship offers. He's getting looks, sure. But to this point, the offers just aren't coming in.While they've yet to offer, the Wildcats are part of the gallery – along with schools such as Virginia Tech, Michigan and Oregon State – keeping an eye on Dukan.
According to Deerfield coach Brett Just, Northwestern was at most of Dukan's high school games last season, plus Wildcat coaches saw Dukan play this summer in Vegas and Chicago. Oh, and Deerfield competed at NU's team camp last year. So Dukan isn't a total unknown, at least not to Northwestern.Nonetheless, there aren't many offers to speak of – not just from NU, but from almost anywhere. And that fact is baffling to Dukan's coaches.
"I'm a little surprised that (his recruitment) hasn't gone absolutely crazy," Just said. "It's one of those situations where a couple schools are waiting for a couple other schools to pull the trigger (with an offer), and then it might get crazy. We're probably going to have numerous high-major schools in the gym this fall."Steve Pratt, Dukan's personal development coach, echoed that sentiment.
Now, it's no stunner that a player's coaches would laud one of their kids like so. Indeed, this isn't the first time that coaches have talked up a player and expressed puzzlement at a lack of offers.But the more you know about Dukan, who was born in Croatia, the stranger it is that his recruitment is going so slowly.
Dukan – ranked as the No. 21 prospect in the city by ChicagoHoops.com – is the son of Ivica Dukan, a former European basketball player and Chicago Bulls Supervisor of European Scout. Duje (prounounced doo-yay) currently stands a hair over 6-8, but with size 16 shoes, both Just and Pratt said they think Dukan will top out at 6-10. To boot, Dukan's skills transcend those of a pure shooter – although he has that down too."Right now his greatest attribute is his ability to shoot the ball with range and the fact that he can get his shot off quickly," Just said. "Obviously no college team has enough shooters, but he's a guy who can also get the rebound and take it down the court himself.
"At the high school level he can play the post but also the one. At college he could be a point forward, a guy who can relieve pressure. He can dribble with both hands, and he can really pass also. Depending on who's on him, he can be a real mismatch problem not only in high school by also in college."What college though? Pratt said that Colorado offered in the fall of 2008, but the Buffaloes would probably count as the most notable offer Dukan has at the moment. And while a number of schools have shown interest – Northwestern among them – there just aren't offers to speak of. (And for the record, Pratt vouched for Dukan in the classroom, saying that grades and test scores were "not an issue.")
Still, Just sounded as though he wouldn't be shocked if the Cats offered…eventually."(Northwestern is) interested but they haven't offered," Just said. "Judging by the fact that they've been at most of (Dukan's) games this summer, he's big on their radar."
Just speculated that the schools to have shown interest are probably targeting higher-profile players at the moment, stalling Dukan's would-be offers."On the road in July it gets crazy," Just said, "and if you don't offer a bunch of guys you won't see them. But it will pick up throughout he fall."
Whether the number of offers swells or not, Just said that Dukan, who is currently visiting family in Croatia, will continue to get better regardless."He's a gym rat," Just said. "His bloodlines, the fact that he's been part of his life, you can just tell he's a basketball player. Sometimes you have to force him out of the gym and not to over-train.
"He had a very strenuous month of July with all the tournaments and all that, and then you figure he goes to Croatia to relax. But he's probably over there running mountains and playing nonstop. He's just one of those guys."
Those guys usually end up with offers. Even if it takes a while.Questions? Comments? You can reach David Vranicar, publisher of Purple Reign, at firstname.lastname@example.org