In the college basketball recruiting world, December 20 is considered a sort of D Day.
And the D in this case may very well stand for Duke. That’s because the approaching date of December 20 is when Jabari Parker—one of the most talented and hyped high school basketball players ever—will choose where he’ll play college basketball.
The good news for Blue Devils fans is that Duke is among Parker’s final five choices. Of course, if Parker doesn’t end up picking Mike Krzyzewski’s team, then the D could stand for disaster in the eyes of many Cameron Crazies.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Duke can still hit it big in recruiting even if Parker leaves Duke at the altar, but it might have to wait until 2014 to hit the jackpot.
A top five player himself in the class of 2013, Julius Randle happens to be the best friend of 2013 Duke commit Matt Jones. There’s no doubt that Jones will be trying his best to personally recruit his BFF Randle to Durham during the next year.
Randle stands at 6’9” and, like Parker, has drawn comparisons to LeBron James. He can do a little bit of everything. Randle can handle the ball, run roughshod in fast break situations and beat defenders to the rim in one-on-one situations very effectively.
However, Rivals notes Duke is off Randle's list. You never know if Randle will change his mind and reconsider if Parker chooses against playing for the Blue Devils.
Randle isn’t the only impressive recruit Duke should target in the event they’re turned down by Parker. A player who’s been rated even higher than Parker by some recruiting outlets is West Virginia forward Andrew Wiggins.
Duke has the talented Wiggins on their radar, and rightfully so. The lanky 6’7” forward has a gaudy 6’11” wing span and track-like quickness.
He also has great bloodlines, as Wiggins’ father (Payne) played in the NBA and mother (Marita) was an Olympic sliver medalist. Add these traits together, and it’s no wonder why Wiggins is projected to be the future top pick in the NBA draft.
Like Randle, however, Wiggins does not have Duke on his final list. Maybe things will change if Parker goes elsewhere for school.
If not those players, then what? The Class of 2014 looks promising for Duke. According to scout.com, the No. 1 PG, SF, PF and C from that class are considering the Blue Devils. In particular No. 1 overall recruit Tyus Jones has Duke on his latest list, according to twincities.com. It's very possible Jones and No. 3 overall recruit (and No. 1 overall center) Jahlil Okafor go as a tandem package to Durham.
Quoting Okafor in USA Today (h/t twincities.com):
“A little over a week ago, I went down to Duke’s Countdown to Craziness and had a ball with my boy Tyus Jones. We had a great time down there just talking with the coaches and embracing the fans. We got to hang out with Theo Pinson too, so all of us were just loving everything about Duke.”
“I talked to Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski a lot about the plans he had for me if I were to come to Duke and I loved everything he was saying. They broke down some plays they run and showed us how they would use us in each of them. Tyus was watching Coach K’s interaction with Quinn Cook, since Quinn’s running the point, and I was watching everything that Mason Plumlee was doing. I was really impressed with him. He does so many things well. I could see myself in that position.”
“Me and Tyus always talk about playing at the same school in college, as most of you know, but just being on the visit together and seeing the practices made it even more real.”
Imagine a lineup featuring Okafor, Tyus Jones and Matt Jones in 2014-15? Even if Duke officially loses out on Wiggins and Randle, the future looks bright as always for the Blue Devils.