Duke Basketball: How Will Coach K's Olympic Involvement Impact Recruiting?

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Duke Basketball: How Will Coach K's Olympic Involvement Impact Recruiting?
statesman.com

The July recruiting period is a crucial time for college basketball programs to "see and be seen."

Coaches and their staffs take these 20 decisive days to evaluate upcoming prospects and make sure that they show up at the right places to demonstrate their commitment to players they are wanting to attract. 

Mike Krzyzewski and his two-most trusted assistants, Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, have spent their summer doing something else: getting Team USA ready to win gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Instead of showing up at places like LeBron's Skills Academy in Vegas, the Nike Global Challenge in D.C. or EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam in N. Augusta, SC., Coach K, Collins and Wojo have been conducting workouts for LeBron, Kobe, KD and the rest of Team USA.

How cool is that for Krzyzewski and his staff?

A memorable experience to say the least. How many times do you get to be a part of interacting with such an exceptional group? How could you pass this up?

But, on the other side of this shiny coin, some other questions might exist.

Questions like:

How will Coach K and his staff's summer involvement with Team USA impact recruiting?

 

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Duke Assistant Coach Jeff Capel

How will their absence from the July summer league circuit be perceived by potential recruits?

Fayetteville Observer's Bret Strelow suggests that "Duke assistant Jeff Capel is filling in capably on the recruiting trail."

Strelow states, "Special assistant Nate James joined Capel in North Augusta, S.C., creating an effective one-two punch while director of basketball operations Pat Thompson scouted prospects in Minnesota."

He also puts forward that "the absent coaches helped establish a solid foundation with their work earlier in the summer, like when Krzyzewski traveled to Minnesota in late April to observe (Tyus) Jones and other standouts at an EBYL event."

Is it possible that coaches from other programs will try to use Krzyzewski's, Collins', and Wojo's outside involvement with the men's Olympic basketball team to plant a small seed of concern in the pliable thoughts of a teenage recruit?

The answer is that it is more than just possible. It is likely.

Recruiting is a harsh business, and coaches will use next to anything to create an edge or opening when trying to attract and entice star players.

I can imagine that some have tried to subtly make statements like "We're HERE for you" in order to imply that they care more because of their presence at one of the myriad of summer league events.

Mickey Mitchell, Five Star recruit from the Class of 2015 - bballspotlight.com

While recruits who have a long-standing relationship with the Duke staff would be less influenced by such insinuations, could a Class of 2015 or 2016 prospect be just a little disappointed that K, Collins and Wojo are somewhere else, even if that is in London at the Olympics?

There is no doubt in my mind that all of the Duke staff has worked round the clock this summer to contact, call and text their prospects regardless of where they (staff or students) happen to be on the planet.

And, who knows? Krzyzewski could use the new NCAA recruiting rules in his favor.

With coaches being permitted to make unlimited calls and send unlimited text messages with recruits after June 15 following their sophomore year, what would stop Coach K and his staff from leveraging this opportunity?

He could put one of his Team USA players on the line to help him recruit.

Can you imagine as a teenager getting a call like this, "This is coach Mike Krzyzewski. I'm standing here in London and I was just hoping things were going well for you. And I wanted to put Kobe Bryant on the phone to tell you what it's like to play for us."

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