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.
A year ago, the two schools featured players taken No. 1, 3, 6, 10, 12, 13 and 24 in the draft, highlighted by Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns at No. 1 and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor at 3.
Tuesday’s showdown featured players projected No. 1 (Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere), 3 (Duke’s Brandon Ingram), 6 (Kentucky’s Jamal Murray), 18 (Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe), 29 (Kentucky’s Marcus Lee) and 58 (Kentucky’s Alex Poythress) in the 2016 Draft. The first four are projected one-and-dones. Thus, more than 60 NBA scouts are expected at the United Center.
Much has been made of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s increased tendency to recruit one-and-dones the way Kentucky coach John Calipari has done for years.
Last year, Duke relied on three one-and-done freshmen to win the national title in Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.
In previous years, Duke recruited Jabari Parker, the No. 2 pick in 2013, and Austin Rivers, the No. 10 pick in 2012.
“As far as the kid we go after,” Krzyzewski told ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor in a great column, “we look at three things: Is he talented enough to help us win a championship? [That doesn’t mean he has to be a pro right away.] Is he academically prepared to do a good job here? And third – and they all have the same importance – what kind of character does he have? Does he have great character?
“If Johnny Dawkins was here today, he might be one- or two-and-done. Put Grant Hill and [Christian] Laettner and those guys in this era, they could be one-and-done. So we haven’t changed as far as who we look for. We just have to look for them more frequently.”
As for copying Kentucky, Coach K says it’s not part of his plan.
“We don’t copy anybody. If you try to be someone else, you’ll be, at best, second best.”
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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.