Another recruiting loss for Duke

STAFF WRITERJanuary 8, 2010 

With recruiting sites reporting the commitment of Oak Hill Academy's Roscoe Smith to Connecticut, it appears that Duke has missed on another target.

Smith is 6-foot-7 and was Duke's No. 2 option at small forward after Harrison Barnes of Ames, Iowa, chose North Carolina over the Blue Devils and other schools. Failing to land Smith could leave Duke short at that position next season.

This won't matter much, of course, if 6-8 Kyle Singler, who's averaging 15.9 points per game at small forward, returns for his senior season rather than leaving for the NBA. Singler's future is a question that remains unanswered at this point of the season, but if he comes back, Duke will be in fine shape at small forward.

If Singler leaves and coach Mike Krzyzewski can't come up with a No. 3 option in recruiting, the Blue Devils won't have an obvious choice to defend other players who are in the 6-5 to 6-8 range who can score inside and out. Guys like Harrison Barnes, for example, could hurt Duke with their multi-dimensional skills.

This would be a problem, but it wouldn't be catastrophic. Duke is in good position everywhere else and would have the personnel to play three guards effectively with Nolan Smith and Andre Dawkins returning and freshman Kyrie Irving and transfer Seth Curry added to the roster.

(If you haven't heard the buzz about Curry, by the way, the word from practice on the redshirting former Liberty player is that he would be Duke's best shooter if he were on the team this season).

Duke's post rotation also should be solid with Mason and Miles Plumlee returning, and Ryan Kelly and freshman Josh Hairston playing supporting roles.

But even if Singler returns, Duke needed another player in that 6-5 to 6-8 range in the program. And the Blue Devils have two strikes against them in the Class of 2010 with Harrison Barnes and now Roscoe Smith.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942, or @kentysiac on Twitter

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