Duke Basketball: The Blue Devils' Battle for the Top 2 Recruits of 2013

Josh BackmanContributor IIIJune 18, 2012

Jabari on left and Julius on right
Jabari on left and Julius on right

If a university receives a commitment from a 5-star recruit, he can impact the team right away.

However, two 5-star recruits are even better. To make things even more delirious, obtaining the two best recruits from the same graduating class can change a program's direction.

With Duke in contention for the top two recruits of 2013, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, the Blue Devils will be more than fine with just securing one.

It's impossible to find any basketball recruit rankings without Parker at No.1 and Randle at No.2. They are indisputably the top two high school seniors of 2013. Both seemingly will play one season at the collegiate level, but they only increase a team's championship hopes with their presence.

Duke will have to impress the two recruits over multiple teams if they are going to capture at least one of two gems in the 2013 class.


Jabari Parker

In the eyes of many, Jabari Parker is the best forward prospect since LeBron James. Regardless if someone believes that is a stretch, it is undeniable that his talent is the best of 2013.

The 6'8", 220-pound small forward from Simeon Career Academy is a game-changer, and his versatility allows himself to dominate in various aspects. He's built well and is light on his feet. Parker can create his shot whether it's a pull-up jump shot or slashing to the hoop for a dunk. His abilities are demonstrated here.

Duke will be pursuing a commitment from Jabari Parker, but it will be immensely difficult. Parker has not narrowed his list of colleges yet, so numerous teams are in the running. Hence they are all directing their focus toward Parker.

However, Duke is one of the heavy contenders, along with Connecticut, DePaul, Illinois and Kentucky. In other words, the Blue Devils are not ahead of any school for the top prospect.

Duke still has a legitimate opportunity to bring in Parker. The Blue Devils have been recruiting him the longest of any major school, and Parker has made it clear he wants to play for a prestigious program that has championship potential.

Another key factor that can assist the Blue Devils is the importance of Parker's family. Parker has great respect for both his family and religion. His parents' input of their opinions for his future greatly impact his.

Regarding Duke, Jabari's father, Sonny, told Alex Kline (link via Parker's official website), "Duke is similar to Simeon’s program. The tradition, history and discipline is there. I watched that special on ESPNU about Duke and I got a better understanding about their program."

Even though the Blue Devils have Parker's high consideration to play for them, the wide market for the top recruit conveys that Duke is not above and beyond all the other universities for him. As November approaches, it will be more understood what direction Jabari will be heading. It's too early to tell now, but Duke is still among the top five for him.


Julius Randle

Julius Randle is the top power forward prospect in the class of 2013. The 6'9" forward from Dallas, Texas, might not be as highly coveted as Jabari Parker, but he can alter an organization's success as well.


Randle receives many comparisons to pro prospect Terrence Jones of Kentucky. They both are a tough matchup for opponents due to their abilities to stretch the floor from the power forward position.

Randle has showed great success from getting the ball at the elbow and creating his shot from there. His athleticism only elevates his game.

Unlike Parker's situation, the public has a better understanding of Randle's collegiate future, and Cameron Indoor Stadium might be the home court for Randle in the 2013-14 season.

Randle has a more specific list that includes Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina as the only real contenders. Among those five schools, Duke is competing mostly with Baylor to capture the prize recruit from Prestonwood Christian Academy.

With Julius Randle, the Blue Devils have been able to stand out over other contenders. The major factor that will aid the Blue Devils is 2013 commit Matt Jones. The shooting guard has been Randle's close friend since they met playing ball in the fifth grade.

Jones really desires Randle to tag along and continue their friendship at Duke. Randle has said that he will really miss not playing with his travel basketball teammate. Their close friendship could definitely help lure Randle to Duke.

Randle has also verbally said there is a high chance he could end up signing with Duke. Like with most recruits that the Blue Devils go after, the Coach-K factor only helps. Every basketball player would jump on the opportunity to play for the winningest coach in Division I history, which Julius has explained.

He is more realistic to end up in Durham than Jabari Parker is. Duke is probably the frontrunner for him as of now, but keep an eye out for Baylor and North Carolina.



Parker's dilemma is too confusing to make a guess as of now. Duke has too much competition, so it is difficult to see how they will be able to beat out teams like Kentucky and local Illinois.

However, Duke probably will capture Julius Randle. It's easy to notice his interest to play at Cameron Indoor under Mike Krzyzewski along with AAU teammate, Matt Jones. In the end, the top recruit (Parker) will look in another direction, while Julius Randle will take his talents to Duke.