Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Coach K Talks About Duke’s No. 1-Ranked Recruiting Class
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski commented on his No. 1 – ranked recruiting class,which includes the top two projected picks in the 2017 NBA Draft in Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles.
Duke’s class is currently ranked No. 1 by Scout.com, ahead of No. 2 Michigan State and No. 3 UConn.
Coach K had some very high praise for Tatum out of St. Louis (MO) Chaminade, who he called “the best scorer” of all the kids he’s seen in high school.
“He’s over 6-8 and he can shoot the ball extremely well,” he said of Tatum, who signed his NLI on Wednesday. “But he can also drive it. He can also post. He’s a good passer and defender. He can play multiple positions, but is a very, very gifted scorer and a very mature player.”
Coach K was very impressed with Tatum’s maturity level. Although a top prospect in the country, Krzyzewski described Tatum as a “very low maintenance guy” that doesn’t want any attention. “He wants to do great in high school, then do great at Duke, and hopefully from there on.”
Even with his recently torn ACL, Krzyzewski was still very high on fellow top recruit Harry Giles of Oak Hill Academy (VA) who won’t play basketball again until freshman year at Duke.
“Well Harry is one of the unique players… they don’t come along very often,” Coach K said. “At 6-10 – 6-11, he’s not a position… Harry really can play every position. And he can pretty much guard every position.”
Similar to Tatum, Coach K complimented Giles for how he plays basketball.
“He has an amazing attitude for the game,” he said. “The game is fun for him, and he attacks it extremely hard.”
Even with the big man’s recently torn ACL (the second of his career), Krzyzewski was confident Giles will be ready to contribute to Duke next year.
“He’s had some setbacks with injuries, but he’ll come back and he’ll be even better because he’s also a hard-worker,” he said.
The final two members of the No. 1-ranked recruiting class are point guard Frank Jackson and forward Javin DeLaurier.
Jackson is described as “very mature physically, emotionally, and with his game…” One of the best attributes that he’ll be bringing to Duke is his versatility.
“He can play really any of the perimeter positions, and even more importantly, he can guard all three of them because of his athleticism, his speed, and his strength,” said Krzyzewski. “He’s an alert, mature player that can fit in with a number of different combinations.”
DeLaurier is the prototypical recruit that Coach K strives to bring to Duke.
“Javin is a great Duke prospect,” he said. “He’s a gifted student and he’s a gifted basketball player who’s going to get better.”
Krzyzewski wasn’t shy to state how excited he is to have DeLaurier in the program.
“He brings the whole package,” he said. “He has amazing energy, and what we call in basketball, a great motor. It’s nice to play with him… We’re very fortunate to get Javin into our program.”
As a whole, Coach K thinks all four recruits will be ready to play immediately upon arriving at Duke.
“Their transition from high school to college will be seamless,” claims their new coach.
It’s safe to say Krzyzewski (along with the rest of Blue Devil Nation) is happy to have these four young men joining the Duke family.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.