Duke Basketball: What Each 2013 Recruit Must Prove in Freshman Season

Chad Lykins@@CLykinsBlogFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

Duke Basketball: What Each 2013 Recruit Must Prove in Freshman Season

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    Another successful recruiting class is in the books for the Duke basketball program, as the Blue Devils have landed three highly touted prospects from the class of 2013. 

    Jabari Parker, Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye make up the three-man class for Duke that ranks as the second-best class in the 247Composite Team Rankings

    While Parker is expected to step in and provide vital contributions immediately, Jones and Ojeleye will compete for significant roles off the bench. 

    Ultimately, all three will become essential pieces for a talent-rich Duke team vying for its fifth national championship in school history.

    Let's take a look at what Jabari Parker, Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye must prove in their respective freshmen seasons at Duke.

Jabari Parker

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    What he must prove: The hype.

    Nearly one year ago, Jabari Parker was bestowed with the honor of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Along with that, he received an overwhelming label that he must live with throughout the course of his playing career.

    "The best high school basketball player since LeBron James."

    Even before being placed with that tag, scouts and fans alike have long known how good Jabari Parker is, on the court and off. 

    And so did the Duke basketball coaching staff, as Parker became the Blue Devils' most highly sought-after recruiting target in recent memory.

    In a year where Duke loses three invaluable senior leaders in Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee, the 6'8" Chicago native will immediately step in and assume the primary leadership role for the Blue Devils.

    He will also be one of the most heavily dissected players in the country.

    As Parker prepares to begin his freshman season at Duke, the hype will continue to follow him. 

    So far, he has handled the hype superbly. With four Illinois state championships and multiple player of the year awards to his credit, Parker has shown the ability to excel at a high level.

    A trend that will likely continue as Parker will become the go-to guy for the Blue Devils in their quest toward glory in the 2013-14 season.

Matt Jones

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    What he must prove: Reliable offense.

    After Andre Dawkins announced that he would be returning to the Duke roster next season, incoming freshman Matt Jones' value suffered a significant blow.

    Both players are mirror images of each other. Tremendous outside shooters with the ability to create for themselves.

    However, the experience factor at the college level is what separates Dawkins from Jones.

    In any case, there will be games where Jones will be able to make an immediate impact when his number is called upon, especially if Dawkins is undergoing an offensive drought.

    While steady minutes will be extremely difficult for Jones to earn in his first season in Durham, he remains a capable scorer off the bench with a terrific shooting stroke. 

    Regardless, any type of production from the first-year shooting guard will be an added bonus for the Blue Devils.

Semi Ojeleye

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    What he must prove: Capable competitor.

    In some circles Semi Ojeleye is the lesser-known of Duke's three-man recruiting class. Primarily due to the fact that Jabari Parker and Matt Jones received invitations to play in the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic, whereas Ojeleye was overlooked.

    Nevertheless, that shouldn't discount the amount of raw talent that Ojeleye possesses. 

    With an NBA-ready body at 6'7", 215-pounds, Ojeleye was a one-man wrecking crew in the local ranks in the state of Kansas. He set the state record for points in a season (952) and a career (2,763) while leading Ottawa High School to an undefeated record and a state championship.

    The only downside to those achievements, however, is that the level of competition in the state of Kansas is particularly low.

    In his freshman season at Duke, Ojeleye will be surrounded with an abundance of talent around him.

    And in order for him to obtain a valuable role in the Duke rotation, Ojeleye must prove that he is capable of performing with the elite. 

    Throughout his first year, more times than not Ojeleye will be pushed to the limit every day. Although, the question remains if he is capable in pushing back?

    With a driven mindset and the skill to succeed at the next level, Ojeleye will likely provide the Blue Devils with substantial minutes next season in relief for classmate Jabari Parker and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood.