As the calendar nears June and the temperature heats up across the country, almost all is quiet on the college basketball front.
Most of the coaching vacancies have been filled, and almost all of the recruits and transfers have picked a school. While fans are hitting the beaches and players gear up to dominate summer leagues, coaches are hot on the recruiting trail.
A majority of players for the class of 2015 remain uncommitted, and many still have a long list of potential schools.
Coaches will spend the summer trying to woo the top recruits as well as identifying any potential sleepers for the rising senior class. They will also start to take a look at the younger players that could blossom into stars in a few years.
According to 247Sports.com, Duke already has one recruit in the class of 2015 in shooting guard Luke Kennard and also recently picked up Rice transfer Sean Obi, whose first season of eligibility will coincide with Kennard’s freshman year.
The early action for Duke’s next recruiting class is promising, but it should not stop the coaches from being aggressive over the summer.
These are a few key storylines to follow as Duke looks to put together another stellar class.
With Kennard already on board, 6’10” power forward Chase Jeter could be next in line to commit. Jeter is a 5-star recruit and considered the 18th-best player in his class.
Jeter is currently considering six schools, and while he does have some other powerhouses on the list, Duke is the only school that he has expressed high interest in. He is also the only player in the class who currently has shown high interest in the Devils.
Jeter would bring energy and rebounding to Durham, North Carolina. He could fit perfectly in Duke’s perimeter-oriented offense as a player who can contribute without being a go-to scorer.
After sporting such a small roster this past season, Duke will be a much taller team in the next couple of years with Jahlil Okafor next season and Obi the year after.
A commitment from Jeter would ensure that Duke has depth in the frontcourt for years to come.
Will Duke Get Another One-and-Done Player?
If Okafor leaves after his freshman season at Duke, it will make four out of five seasons that a freshman left Duke for the NBA draft.
Many fans have questioned how successful teams can be with so much yearly roster turnover. It is important to note that the Devils’ best year out of the last four seasons was 2012–13, when they did not have a star freshman.
The Devils have yet to gain a commitment from a potential one-and-done player in the class of 2015.
Duke is currently listed as a potential landing spot for the top three players in the class of 2015: Ivan Rabb, Malik Newman and Diamond Stone.
While Duke is on the list for all three, the Devils don’t appear to be among the favorites to land any of the group. This is likelier due to low interest from the players than Duke coaches not wanting to recruit the top of the class anymore.
It will be interesting to see if Duke gets itself more seriously in the discussion for one of those three or if the team hangs back in recruiting for one season.
The Devils may lack the roster space to add any more players. Quinn Cook will be the only scholarship senior on the team next season, so Duke would need players to declare for the NBA draft in order to open up more spots.
Okafor is likely to bolt to the NBA after one season, opening up one spot, but he may be the only player to leave. Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyus Jones could potentially make the jump, but both would need to exceed expectations next year in order to be considered first-round picks.
With so much talent already on hand, Duke is not likely to add one of the top players in the class of 2015.
Thon Maker’s Potential Reclassification
If Duke fails to grab one of the top players in the class, it might receive a second chance at a blue-chip recruit if Thon Maker moves to the class of 2015.
Maker is currently ranked third in the class of 2016, but may move back into the class of 2015. This would allow him to enter college and potentially the NBA one year earlier.
Like most rising juniors, Maker currently has an extensive list of schools he is considering, and Duke has its name in the hat. If he chooses to reclassify, Maker would likely shrink his list over the summer before making a decision sometime during the school year.
Landing Maker would be a huge win for Duke, as he is a very rare recruit. Seven-footers with shot-blocking skills and range to the three-point line do not come often.
If Maker changes his class, he will immediately become the biggest story to the fans of teams recruiting him. If not, it could be a slow summer for Duke fans.
Unless otherwise noted, recruit information and ratings courtesy of Scout.com.