High school state championships are ending, which means the real start of recruiting season is getting closer.
About twice a month I’ll answer readers’ recruiting questions about Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State. Tweet your questions to @jonmalexander and use the hashtag #AskJMA. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s get to this week’s mailbag:
@jaymintae asks: is there a leader for Devon Dotson at this point?
@jonmalexander: For those who don’t know Dotson, he is the state’s top basketball recruit in the class of 2018. He is a 6-2, 175-pound four-star point guard and rated No. 34 overall in his class, according to 247sports.com. He plays for Providence Day in Charlotte and last week was named the Charlotte Independent Schools conference player of the year.
Dotson, 17, was a unanimous choice among the league’s coaches, according to the Charlotte Observer. Dotson averaged more than 20 points per game this season. He also has 25 college scholarship offers.
According to Langston Wertz Jr., a Charlotte Observer sports columnist who has covered Dotson extensively, “It’s early. Dotson is still evaluating everything and doesn’t even have a short list yet.”
@codnacho: how will coaching search at NCSU affect recruiting? 1 commit now, do you see the pack adding anyone else? Transfers? #AskJMA
@jonmalexander: The sooner athletic director Debbie Yow hires someone, the better, especially for recruiting. The top 2017 recruits will soon make up their minds. One of the biggest sells for a recruit is the coach they’ll play for.
It’ll be hard to convince prospects to come to a school without knowing who the coach will be.
Hiring someone quickly, however, could be difficult, because those who appear to be the school’s top targets, are coaches who will almost surely be in the NCAA tournament late in March.
N.C. State has no recruits on the radar, and you probably won’t see any crop up until a new coach is hired.
@AndySpecht: Has Coach K resorted to only recruiting 1-and-dones? Or does Duke still actively seek role players to contribute for 4 years?
@jonmalexander: (Full disclosure: Andy Specht covers Raleigh and Wake County for The News & Observer.) While it does seem that Duke is only recruiting one-and-done players, the Blue Devils do seek role players who will contribute for more than a year.
Alex O’Connell, a 6-5, 170-pound four-star shooting guard, who signed with Duke in November, is not projected to be a one-and-done player.
But coach Mike Krzyzewski has said that Duke hasn’t changed its recruiting in any way.
“If (Christian) Laettner and (Grant) Hill and those guys were recruited today, they might be one-and-done,” Krzyzewski said in an interview with N&O Duke beat reporter Jessika Morgan. “They may not say that, but they would have the temptation to go, so we have a great product to sell.”
And while Duke has always recruited the best players, they’ve also found players they knew would stay for longer than a year. Those players have been huge contributors to the Blue Devils’ over the years. The 2015 national championship team included one-and-dones Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones but the Blue Devils wouldn’t have won without the others on the team.
In the Final Four game against Michigan State in 2015, then-senior guard Quinn Cook, who now plays for the Dallas Mavericks, hit 17 to help Duke win 81-61. Then-freshman Grayson Allen, the most unlikeliest of heroes, came off the bench and scored 16 points to help lead a 68-63 comeback win over Wisconsin in the national championship.
Marshall Plumlee, Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson also played huge roles in that championship run. Without three- and four-year players or some continuity, there tends to be a lack in leadership.
Grad student forward Jefferson and senior guard Jones have been those leaders at Duke this year. They motivate underclassmen when they struggle, and keep them in check when they get complacent. Krzyzewski knows that. That’s how he’s always built his programs.