It's not too often that a high-level basketball recruit publicly identifies his dream school from the start of his recruiting process.
But that's exactly what Grayson Allen, a shooting guard from Jacksonville Providence High, did. He told everyone that would listen that he wanted to go to Duke, and he became Duke's first 2014 commit shortly after Jeff Capel, Steve Wojciechowski and Mike Krzyzewski visited him at home and extended him an offer. You can read the full story on Allen here.
There isn't a great historical comparison from Duke's past for Allen, according to ESPN senior recruiting analyst Dave Telep.
"He’s different," Telep said of Allen. "Everyone always likes to say, ‘well, who is he like, but they haven’t had a guy like this. This guy, you can plug him in different spots, and he can be successful. The fact that he has a basketball IQ as both a passer, shooter and scorer is a big deal."
So there's that to look for in the 2014-15 season. And here is a quick rundown of Duke's other major targets for that year, listed in relative priority order:
PG Tyus Jones, Apple Valley, Minnesota. AAU: Howard Pulley Panthers
C Jahlil Okafor , Whitney Young, Chicago. AAU: Mac irvin Fire
SF Justise Winslow, St. Johns, Houston. AAU: Houston Hoops
PF Kevon Looney, Milwaukee Hamilton, Mikwaukee. AAU: Milwaukee Rebels
PF Trey Lyles, Arsenal Technical, Indianapolis. AAU: Spiece Indy Heat
SF Theo Pinson, Wesleyan Christian Academy, Greensboro. AAU: CP3 All-Stars
SG Devin Booker, Moss Point, Mississippi. AAU: Alabama Challenge
The last two guys, Pinson and Booker, have overlapping skills with Allen, so it would be pretty surprising if either ended up in Duke's 2014 class. Jones and Okafor have repeatedly said they are a package deal and are the clear top targets of the class.
As it stands right now, there are eight offers (including Allen's), for four open spots in the 2014 class (Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston, Andre Dawkins and Todd Zafirovski will all move on and free up scholarships). That doesn't factor in anyone leaving early, and Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker and Rasheed Sulaimon will certainly be candidates to do that depending on how the season goes.
Recruiting is all about having options—for the players and for the offering teams. Keep an eye on those names going forward.
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