Mike Krzyzewski has become an unstoppable force on the recruiting trail for the Duke basketball program.
After landing an absolutely loaded 2014 class that includes Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, Krzyzewski is chipping away at 2015. That group received a serious boost when Chase Jeter elected to take his talents to Durham.
Jeter is a 5-star power forward, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, who checks in at 6’11” and 225 pounds. The Las Vegas product is the top-rated player in Nevada and the nation's No. 3 power forward and No. 7 overall prospect for the 2015 class.
A number of marquee programs, including Arizona, Connecticut, UCLA and Gonzaga, pursued Jeter at one point, but he ultimately chose Duke. He explained why, via Adam Finkelstein of ESPN.com: “I just loved the feel and the environment. Cameron Indoor is a great place and a great basketball environment.”
Of course, the presence of Coach K certainly helps as well. Krzyzewski has won national titles, sent players to the NBA throughout his career and has worked with the best players in the world during international competition. Jeter, who is yet to turn 17, couldn’t have picked a better coach if he wants to maximize his talent.
Before discussing how Krzyzewski will hone Jeter’s abilities, it is worth pointing out just what Duke will get with the big man.
Jeter’s post-up game immediately jumps out on film, and his jump hook is a lethal weapon. Jeter towers over much of his competition, and it is nearly impossible to block or even bother his soft shot in the paint. Throw in his impressive hands and natural ability to carve out space by the basket, and Duke has a legitimate post presence that will take over for Okafor if he heads to the NBA.
Jeter’s offensive arsenal goes beyond the block, though. He can hit from mid-range and has a face-up jumper that stretches to 15 feet.
He also possesses the athleticism to get out in transition at times, which will be critical if Jones is still running the show at point in 2015-16.
Thanks to his quickness, leaping ability and height, Jeter will be a dominant rebounder on both sides of the floor. That is certainly welcome news for Blue Devils fans who grew frustrated with the team’s inability to pull down critical boards throughout the 2013-14 campaign.
Those same traits that help Jeter rip down rebounds will make him a solid rim protector defensively. His lateral quickness allows him to roam around the baseline, and that leaping ability will help him swat plenty of shots into the Cameron Crazies. They will certainly appreciate that.
Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com was particularly impressed during the summer with Jeter’s work ethic and ability to play multiple roles:
As mentioned, there is no better candidate than Krzyzewski to maximize these already elite talents. It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear Jeter’s name called early in the lottery of the 2016 NBA draft one year after Okafor and two years after Jabari Parker.
If Coach K wants to get the most out of Jeter, he would be wise to mix in some pick-and-roll looks on the offensive end. Whether operating with Jones, Grayson Allen, Rasheed Sulaimon or even fellow 2015 recruit Luke Kennard, Jeter’s versatility means he can dart to the basket off the screen and finish with ease or pop out on the wing and drill a mid-range look.
He’s even quick enough to slip the screen and catch the defenders off balance.
Whether he is finishing at the basket, hitting from the high block or creating an opening for the ball-handler because he drew multiple defenders with his size, Jeter will be a force in pick-and-roll scenarios.
What’s more, Jeter’s ability to play either power forward or center at 6’11” means Coach K can create mismatch problems throughout the 2015-16 season. We are working under the assumption that Okafor will be in the NBA, but pairing Jeter with Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee would create an immediate height advantage for the Blue Devils.
Krzyzewski could also use Jeter as the sole big man and interior anchor for an athletic lineup because of his ability to run the floor and control the boards.
If we are going to nitpick, Jeter needs to get stronger before taking on ACC competition, but what 16-year-old kid is ACC strong more than a year before he is set to arrive on campus? Being in the Duke program will certainly help him prepare his body for what should eventually be an appearance in the NBA.
This may be asking too much because Duke is primarily a man-to-man team on the defensive end, but Jeter is so quick, especially laterally, that he could benefit from playing in the occasional zone. Seeing Jeter dart from one block to the other as a shot-blocker and rim protector could close up the lane for opponents and force them into contested jumpers from the outside.
One thing is for certain, though: Krzyzewski will get the most out of Jeter’s talents and have him ready for the NBA after a season or two at the college level.
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