Coach Mike Krzyzewski Overhauling Duke with Devilish New Approach to Recruiting

Justin McTeerCorrespondent IAugust 26, 2009

MACAU, CHINA - JULY 31:  Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team shouts during the USA Basketball International Challenge exhibition game against the Turkey National Team at the Coati Strip Cotai Arena July 31, 2008 in Macau, China.  (Photo by MN Chan/Getty Images)

The struggles of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's recruiting efforts in recent years have been well documented.

While he's successfully recruited McDonald's All-American after McDonald's All-American, the Blue Devils have still been missing key positional players needed for postseason success in recent years.

Missing out on players like Brandan Wright, Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, Kenny Boynton, and John Wall has forced Krzyzewski to play certain players out of position in order to field a successful team.  Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, and Jon Scheyer are prime examples of players having to play out of position to fill holes left by recruiting misses.

Those recruiting misses have garnered sharp criticism from the Duke faithful, who have been voicing concerns that Krzyzewski's "less is more" approach to recruiting has become outdated.

Those critics should quiet down in the near future, because Krzyzewski's approach to recruiting appears to be changing.

The Blue Devils just completed their first annual Elite Camp, bringing in some of the best players in the country and giving them a concentrated dose of what makes Duke so special, complete with focused attention from the coaching staff and face time with Duke greats such as J.J. Redick and Jason Williams (not to mention a stay on Duke's campus and a firsthand view of Duke's amazing new practice facility and Cameron Indoor).

Attendees featured current Duke commitments such as Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton, high-priority targets such as 2011 recruit Quincy Miller, and likely Duke targets in years to come.

The Elite Camp has already given way to J.P. Tokoto, an athletic and offensively-minded 2012 guard, receiving an official offer from Duke, and the buzz is that Marshall Plumlee (the younger brother of current Duke players Mason and Miles Plumlee) will be offered soon.

The Elite Camp is just one piece of Krzyzewski's revamped recruiting approach.

He has widened the recruiting net significantly, with multiple players being actively recruited for the same position (at one point in this offseason, Duke was actively recruiting the top four point guards in the 2010 class).

Krzyzewski is going after younger players as well, as evidenced by Tokoto receiving an offer before playing a single high school game as a sophomore. Granted, offering sophomores won't become standard practice, but it's just more evidence of Krzyzewski's more aggressive recruiting approach.

What has this rebooted approach to recruiting  gained for the Blue Devils?

Well, Duke remains high on the list for 2010 standouts Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving. Commitments from those players would give Duke the nation's standout recruiting class in 2010.

The Blue Devils are getting in the game early for highly-touted recruits, something that generally goes a long way in recruits' minds when trimming their lists come decision time.

Perhaps most importantly, the Blue Devils have gained a renewed energy and drive from one of the greatest college coaches of this generation.

Regardless of the immediate impact, Krzyzewski's recruiting strategy hasn't simply been modified in recent months; it's been entirely overhauled.

That's a good thing for the future of Duke basketball—a very good thing.


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