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Is Amile Jefferson Duke's Next Shane Battier?

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Amile Jefferson #25 of the East team moves during the 2012 McDonald's All American Game at United Center on March 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Curtis ClontzCorrespondent IIApril 26, 2012

Duke's top priority in recruiting is currently combo forward Amile Jefferson. After losing out on Tony Parker, they have turned all directions toward landing this 4-star athlete.  

Yesterday, I tweeted an article posted at DukeReport.com discussing how the monstrosity of a press conference by Tony Parker actually lifted Jefferson's stock. It is not too far fetched to believe that one's own self loathing can help another's stock shoot through the roof.

Unlike TP, Jefferson will not have his own "I love me" party to announce his future school. Although he doesn't have a timeline, he is hoping that next week he will make his own decision.

While he proceeds to select his next destination, Duke fans are salivating at the chance for Jefferson to put on a Duke jersey.  

Amile Jefferson is a 4-star recruit out of Philadelphia. The 6'7" player is less of a back to the basket type and more of a baseline running athlete with size. He is currently a great player from 15 feet in, who has the ability to dribble once and pull up strong.

Jefferson is the third best player remaining and arguably an important part of Duke for next season.  Another recruiting spurn could put a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. Currently ranked 36th by Rivals, 25th by ESPNU and as high as 21st by Scout, he is certainly a top priority for all suitors.

In January, he was 60/40 Duke over NC State.

If Jefferson does decide to enroll at Duke, he could be the answer that Duke fans only dream about: the next Shane Battier.  As a multi-faceted player, he is generating a lot of early comparisons! Those are certainly some Ronald McDonald-size shoes to fill.

Battier was a champion and beloved athlete who WAS Duke basketball.

2 Apr 2001:  Shane Battier #31 of Duke looks on during Duke's 82-72 win over Arizona in the NCAA National Championship Game of the Men's Final Four tournament at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/ALLSPOR
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Battier was an ace who was able to contribute on both ends of the court.  Earning Defensive Player of the year three times, he was incredible at Duke.  His resume doesn't equal Christian Leattner, but it is still very impressive.  2001 was his best year—he won all POY awards and with the help of Jay Williams, was able to cut down the nets. His jersey is hanging at Cameron and is a tough comparison not only for Jefferson but for any college recruit.

Don't kid yourself, Jefferson's defense is not at Battier's level.  

If you're expecting him to be the best defensive forward in the ACC next season, then you're probably going to be wrong. But he can grow into someone who is extremely strong defensively.

Comparing Jefferson to a beloved Devil such as Battier is not only unfair—it is extremely unlikely. As a mid-20 recruit and 4-star athlete, Jefferson is solid, but not yet elite. Calling him a scoring/roving Lance Thomas may be a more realistic comparison.

Jefferson himself has even talked about the comparison and how he fits with Duke a while back.

Elite would be great, but that isn't important right now. Duke has a need and Jefferson can fill that hole. He could step in and play backup to Ryan Kelly at the 3.5 position, or be able to step right in and contribute as a solid four.

Either way, Jefferson to Duke makes sense for both him and the school. NC State is making a huge bid for him, but they will always play third fiddle to both Duke and UNC. UNC certainly reloaded and Duke actually is better off than many think.  

NC State hasn't won the ACC just yet.  

It will be interesting to see how the next week plays out.  Duke may be favored, but they have not given him a jersey.  Duke Nation would mourn at not getting him and many would cry "the sky is falling," but either way Jefferson is doing things right and Duke should be his home.

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