Duke Basketball: Austin Nichols Chooses Memphis; Where Does Coach K Turn Now?

Doug BrodessCorrespondent INovember 5, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 08:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Austin Nichols, a 5-star power forward recruit from Eads, Tenn., committed to Memphis today, according to Bret Strelow and Stephen Schramm of Fayobserver.com

Nichols, ESPN.com's No. 12 player in the nation, was also considering Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Duke, Virginia and Auburn.

The 6'8" power forward was an important part to Duke's 2013 recruiting class.

So far, the Blue Devils have received commitments from SG Matt Jones and SF Semi Ojeleye. Both Jones and Ojeleye are rated as 4-star prospects.

The importance for head coach Mike Krzyzewski to land a recruit like Nichols is to reload the Blue Devils' frontcourt, which will lose seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly after the upcoming season.

With Nichols' decision, Jabari Parker is the only other Class of 2013 recruit who has received an offer from Duke (via ESPN.com).

The pickings are getting a little slim for power forwards and centers.

No other Top 25 post player (such as Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon or Noah Vonleh) lists Duke as a school that they are considering. Only 17 total players (of all positions) from ESPN's 2013 Top 100 are still on the board.

Obviously, Coach K and his staff can jump in immediately on other Top 100 recruits. But the success rate of a late entry into an elite-level player's recruitment is minimal at best.

Does today's news put a damper on Duke's future? Maybe not, but it doesn't look good for the immediate future of the Blue Devils' frontline.