Mike Krzyzewski is seen as one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball because of his winning pedigree on the court, but the man can recruit as well.
Krzyzewski landed an absolutely loaded 2014 class for the Duke program that includes the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow. There is plenty of buzz surrounding the Blue Devils as the season gradually approaches as a result of that youth movement.
The question now, at least in terms of the recruiting trail, is whether Coach K can keep that momentum alive with the 2015 group.
He got off to an impressive start when he landed shooting guard Luke Kennard out of Ohio. Kennard checks in at 6'5" and is seen as a 5-star prospect by 247Sports.
He lights it up from behind the three-point line and is more than comfortable drilling shots by pulling up off the dribble or as a spot-up marksman.
Kennard also brings impressive court vision and passing abilities to the table and is a solid ball-handler.
However, one commit does not make up a Duke class, especially after the Blue Devils dominated the recruiting trail during the last cycle.
Another highly regarded 2015 prospect that Coach K has his eyes on is Chase Jeter.
Jeter is a 5-star power forward, per 247Sports, who stands at 7'0" and 225 pounds. His combination of height, versatility and athleticism is enough to make scouts across the country drool, and the Blue Devils are definitely on the short list of contenders for his services.
Jeter's length allows him to dominate on the glass and swat shots on the defensive end. He also has a soft touch as a shooter around the basket and even throws in a hook shot as part of his arsenal for good measure.
If Okafor does leave after his freshman season for the NBA like Jabari Parker did, securing Jeter’s commitment would put any concerns about frontcourt depth going forward to rest. Then, there is always the dream scenario from a Duke perspective that Okafor comes back to create a dominant big-man pairing with Jeter, which would be borderline unfair for the rest of the ACC.
Arizona and UCLA are also interested in Jeter, but Clint Jackson of Rivals.com notes that it could be a two-team race at this point:
Chase Jeter will make his decision public on the first week in August, his father confirmed to DI. Duke and Arizona are the frontrunners.— Clint Jackson (@clintjackson1) July 5, 2014
Jeter also sounded very optimistic about the potential situation waiting for him in Durham, via Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv and Zags Blog:
Coach K is a great coach. It would be awesome to play for him. I took one of my visits out to Durham and it's a great spot, a great basketball school, a great academic school. I have great relationships with all the coaches there and I feel like they’re a great program.
It probably doesn't hurt Duke's chances that Kennard, Jones and Winslow all played alongside Jeter at the USA Basketball trials recently.
Outside of Jeter and Kennard, Diamond Stone and Brandon Ingram are also listed by 247Sports as top targets in Duke's 2015 efforts.
Stone is a 5-star prospect, per 247Sports, who is seen as the best center in the 2015 class. He is an absolute scoring machine on the low block and can use his impressive strength and size (6'10", 246 lbs) to bully his way to the basket. However, he also has some finesse in his game thanks to his quick footwork and ability to hit from mid-range.
He would also provide even more frontcourt depth if Okafor takes his talents to the NBA after one year.
Ingram, on the other hand, is a North Carolina kid who could very well end up wearing Tar Heel Blue. Still, it's not surprising that Duke has shown interest because he is a 5-star small forward, per 247Sports, who is incredibly athletic and versatile at 6'8".
He can drill it from behind the three-point line and is a walking matchup nightmare for opposing teams because he can score down low or shoot over smaller defenders and blow past bigger ones off the dribble.
How many scholarships will Duke use for its 2015 class?
All of these targets are certainly intriguing, but the number of scholarships Duke will or won't have available is still a question mark.
Quinn Cook is the only senior on the roster, so the only realistic way that the Blue Devils can bring in a number of 2015 recruits is if there are some NBA departures.
Okafor figures to be one, and Jones, Winslow and perhaps even Rasheed Sulaimon could join him depending on how productive they are during the 2014-15 campaign. Regardless of whether it is loaded with 2015 recruits or returning stars though, Duke's 2015-16 team figures to be among the nation's best.
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