In the last five years, John Calipari has made a name for himself as a coach that recruits the best guards.
He had Derrick Rose in 2007, followed by Tyreke Evans at Memphis, then John Wall and Brandin Knight when he moved to Kentucky. Two of these guys were drafted No. 1 in the NBA, and the other two were lottery picks.
Mike Krzyzewski has also been recruiting elite guards; Kyrie Irving last year, Austin Rivers this year and Rasheed Sulaimon is expected to arrive in Durham next year.
For 2013, 5-star recruit Matt Jones from DeSoto,Texas, has verbally committed to the Blue Devils.
According to recruiting expert Dave Telep, Duke envisions playing the 6’4” recruit in a similar role as J.J. Redick because Jones is one of the best shooters in his recruiting class.
The high school junior is passionate about his ability to shoot three-pointers.
“The reality is that I’ve got all of these schools recruiting me because of my ability to shoot the three,” Jones previously said to Jason Jordan of ESPN.
“So if there’s no three-point line, there may be no Matt Jones. I’d probably be fighting for a low D-II scholarship. I owe the people that brought the three-point line to the high school game. I owe them big.”
Jones was responding to a question about the three-point shot and what it means to him as a player.
By the time he arrives, shooter Andre Dawkins should have already graduated from Duke. Jones should be a suitable replacement, but he told OU Hoops.com that he brings other things to the table.“Everybody knows I can shoot, but I can handle the basketball, rebound, defend and do whatever the coaches need. I fashion my game after Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics.”
Ray Allen is one of the best guards in the NBA known for running around screens and knocking down killer shots at pivotal moments but while he was at UConn, he was a primary ball handler that could get his shot off the dribble.
Guards like that are coveted in college basketball today where most players rely on the three-point shot. If Jones can add a dribble drive aspect to his game he will enjoy his time at Duke.
Jones was previously being recruited by Jeff Capel while he was the head coach at Oklahoma.
"It's the way they play and Coach K," Jones said to recruiting guru, Dave Telep. "Everybody respects him and what they stand for with academics on and off the court. They can get me to the next level as a person and a man and as a player to continue to improve my game."
Jones chose Duke over North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Kansas and Arizona.
If only Duke can get that coveted, back-to-the-basket big man to complement these elite guards.
The Blue Devils are still in the running for 2012 forward Tony Parker and another top prospect from the 2013 class, Julius Randle, who plays on the same summer team as Jones.
“Julius and I have been talking to the same schools since the sixth grade,” said Jones. “We’re like brothers, and I can definitely see us playing together on the next level.”
Many have viewed Jones’s commitment to Duke as a prelude to Randle committing, but there are no guarantees in college basketball recruiting.