Duke Basketball Recruiting: Players Who Could Make or Break 2014 Class
The 2014 recruiting class is still a work in progress for the Duke basketball program.
While the Blue Devils are strong contenders for some of the best high school players in the country, the team only has one commitment for the class of 2014 and still needs to close the deal on some of its favorite targets.
The class of 2014 is loaded with talent, and many of the players who are still going through the recruiting process will have an opportunity to make an instant impact once they begin playing college basketball.
Let’s take a look at some of the players Duke is recruiting who could make or break the class of 2014.
Reid Travis is the type of physical, low-post presence Duke fans always have on their wish list.
ESPN.com has him listed at 6’8”, 240 pounds, and he is one of the top power forwards in the class of 2014. Travis would have the potential to immediately step in and serve as one of the best rebounders on the team if he elects to play for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.
He took an official visit to Duke back in September, and the Blue Devils are rumored to be one of his finalists, along with Gonzaga, Stanford and Minnesota.
Richard Pitino, the new head coach at Minnesota, is working hard to get Travis to stay in his home state and play for the Golden Gophers.
Justise Winslow is one of the most talented and versatile players in the class of 2014 and should be a great fit no matter where he plays college basketball.
Winslow is the No. 13 overall player and No. 2-ranked small forward, according to 247Sports. He features a well-rounded game and is known for his intense defense, which is always something Mike Krzyzewski looks for in a player.
He’s 6’5”, 208 pounds and would be a huge addition to a Duke team that already has a fantastic assortment of wing players.
Experts are split over whether Winslow will end up becoming a Blue Devil or Arizona Wildcat, but he would be a huge piece for either team’s class.
According to Adam Zagoria at ZagsBlog, Kevon Looney is set to make his announcement on October 31.
Duke is one of the finalists for the 6’8”, 190-pound forward from Milwaukee, but he’s also considering Tennessee, Florida, Michigan State, UCLA and Wisconsin.
Looney is an athletic forward with a seven-foot wingspan who presents matchup problems for the opposing defense because of his size and range.
He visited Duke in September and spoke very highly of the Blue Devils, telling ZagsBlog, “Duke was a lot of fun. Coach K is a great guy. He’s a legend in the game. Duke has a great tradition of basketball and education. And it has great facilities.”
It will be interesting to see if Looney and Reid Travis base their decisions off of each other, but it would be a major steal for the Blue Devils if they can land both players.
Tyus Jones has clearly been one of Duke’s biggest priorities in recruiting over the past couple of years.
Mike Krzyzewski and other Duke assistants are seen regularly at his games, and Jones has talked about how he frequently speaks with the Duke coaches.
Jones is the only point guard the Blue Devils are recruiting in the class of 2014, and recruiting experts marvel at his ability to run a team, which is why he is the top point guard prospect in the country in the ESPN 100 rankings.
The other key with Duke landing Jones would be his relationship with Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is another top-five prospect, and the two have talked regularly about their intention of playing on the same team in college.
While Reid Travis would be a great addition in the post for Duke, Jahlil Okafor is the type of guy who could immediately make the Blue Devils a national championship contender.
Actually, some experts are already labeling Okafor as the next center who could have a major impact on an NBA franchise.
Duke is rumored to be one of the leaders for the 6’10”, 270-pound center from Chicago, and this will be a huge weekend in Durham as Okafor and Tyus Jones are set to make their official visit.
Okafor is an incredibly polished low-post player who can run the floor and dominate on both ends of the court. If he and Jones ultimately decide to go to school together and choose Duke, the Blue Devils will have another great chance to reach a Final Four.