Duke Basketball Recruting: Nate James Leading the Charge

Mike KlineAnalyst IMarch 12, 2010

It is often said writers write about what they know. The same sentiment can be used when discussing college recruiters because they recruit the areas they know.

Duke's Nate James is doing exactly that.

James a former Blue Devil player in the late '90s and early 2000s was part of Duke's 2001 National Championship team.

A prospect out of the Maryland, DC area, James came in as a tough defender and shooter and battled through several injuries on his way to becoming a solid leader for the Blue Devils.

James has carried that leadership over now as a coach and he has become a leading recruiter for the Blue Devils. And he is targeting the area he knows best, Maryland, DC and Virginia.

This season Duke brought in Andre Dawkins from Northern Virginia. Next season, Duke is bringing Tyler Thornton, Joshua Hairston, also from the Virginia/Maryland area.

On Thursday, the Blue Devils landed a verbal commitment from Michael Gbinjie from, you guessed it, Virginia.

Duke has been jokingly called the University of New Jersey-South due to the number of players that have played from that state. You could almost begin calling them UVA-South now.

James' influence in continuing the tradition of bringing in player from that area cannot be overlooked.

Like any recruit a player ultimately wants to play for the head coach, but it is usually the assistant coaches who play an integral part in bringing in players and developing relationships.

Before leaving to take the Stanford coaching job, Johnny Dawkins lead the way getting talented players such as Nolan Smith and Nate James from the area where he had developed.

James has taken up the mantle as one of Duke's top recruiters and he has kept Virginia, a hot bed for young talent, interested in the Blue Devils.

His experience both as a player for Krzyzewski, and now as a coach can only be a benefit.

Recruiting isn't an exact science. Some players develop, some players don't. Krzyzewski has drawn a lot of criticism for his style of recruiting which used to focus mainly on one or two guys specific to a position.

Now with him casting a more wide-net approach, it is coaches like James who are leading the way.

And he is just the type of young, energetic guy that can draw young kids to Duke. James knows what it takes both academically and athletically, but he also knows what it takes mentally to play for a guy like Krzyzewski.

His ability to convey that message to the top recruits should and is providing them with the information necessary to decide if Duke is the right place for them.

And so far it looks like the recruits from Virginia are listening and liking what they hear.