Duke Basketball Recruits: Class of 2009


Any Good Guys fan who has watched Duke this year has to feel pretty good about where we are as a program right now.


The squad is teaming with ballers and interchangeable parts. Coach K is choosing both defensive and offensive flexibility over Duke hoops dogma of the past. Not only that, but you get a sense that the program can’t be held hostage to any one player due to injury or a defection to the NBA given the balance of talent across 7 or 8 players. Still, there is a sense that Duke is still one post player away. Sadly, it seems that player really was Patrick Patterson who is proving to be a full-on stud, double-double guy for the hapless University of Kentucky Basketball program.


Don’t worry, the optimist told us, Duke will get Greg Monroe in 2008 so it’s all good and we’ll be poised to make a run at title in 2009.


Wrong, wrong (Charlie Murphy perpetual line steppers story), Monroe picked Georgetown BEFORE he even took his official Duke visit (embarrassing). So with no big man prospect in sight, save for John Riek (we’ll discuss him later) and with yet another helping of a hot combo guard on the way in the form of Elliot Williams (Ballin’!!!), where does that leave us? Well, it leaves Duke with at least a two year window of small ball heaven or hell depending on how you see it. But it does present a pretty clear mandate for the Duke coaching staff to get some big man help in during this next recruiting cycle.

Here’s what we’ve got so far. To date, Duke has offered scholarships to 5 different players in the class of 2009.

1. Deshawn Painter – HT: 6-9, WT: 195 lbs., Hometown: Norfolk, VA


Position: Power Forward, Rating: 5/5 stars (scout.com)

Other Schools of interest: Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Ohio State, Virginia, Virginia Tech

2. Greg Echenique – HT: 6-8 WT: 240 lbs., Hometown: Newark, NJ


Position: Center, Power Forward Rating: 4/5 stars (scout.com)

Other Schools of interest: Maryland, Miami (FL.), Notre Dame, Penn, Rutgers

3. Reeves Nelson – HT: 6-7 WT: 215 lbs., Hometown: Modesto, CA


Position: Power Forward, Small Forward Rating: 4/5 stars (scout.com)

Other schools of interests: Arizona, California, Georgetown, Florida, LSU, UNC, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, USC, Washington

4. Eric Murphy – HT: 6-9, WT: 210 lbs., Hometown: Southborough, MA


Position: Power Forward, Small Forward Rating: 4/5 stars (scout.com)

Other schools of interest: Boston College, UConn, Florida, Marquette, Ohio State, Virginia

5. John Riek – HT: 7-2, WT: 240 lbs., Hometown: Winchendon MA, via the Sudan, Africa


Position: Center, Rating: 5/5 stars (scout.com)

Other schools of interest: UConn, Georgetown, Florida

Note: This cat might be going straight to the NBA due to the fact that he’s somewhere between 17-21 years old. Standard shady international birth certificate. Who knows. Duke offered him a scholarship nonetheless.

Players Duke supposedly has on their radar but have yet to offer

1. Kenny Boynton – HT: 6-2 WT: 185 lbs., Hometown: Plantation, FL


Position: Combo Guard – Rating: 5/5 stars (scout.com)

2. Leslie McDonald – HT: 6-4, WT: 185 lbs., Hometown: Memphis, TN


Position: Shooting Guard – Rating 5/5 stars (scout.com)

When you consider the position and size players Coach K and staff have decided to offer scholarships to thus far in the class of 2009 versus the guys they’re decided to take a “wait and see” approach with, it sort of makes you scratch your head. First, only one of these guys is a certified 5 star prospect (excepting Riek who is a bit of an unknown). Second, there isn’t one impact guard in the bunch (though Boynton and McDonald would be), something that’s rather atypical of our recruiting approach historically. Is K overcompensating for the current and glaring lack of front-line depth with an eye to the 2009-2010 season when Scheyer, Henderson, King, Smith, Thomas, and Singler will all be veteran players looking to the National Championship? Is he trying to stockpile solid 4 year post guys that he can later add some solid perimeter pieces to? Who knows, I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but it just seems a bit odd when you consider who we offer to and who we have gotten in recent years, meaning guards galore.

One thing that is obvious is that Georgetown is a growing recruiting rival with Duke. I’m not sure how they can afford to offer 10 or so players in every class each year, but it seems to be working AGAINST Duke. Don’t sleep on JT III. He snatched Greg Monroe from us, he took Hollis Thompson off our big board before we could ever really make a run at him and meanwhile, he’s been stockpiling talented player after talented player from all over the country. More later.

– Lake

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4 Responses to “Duke Basketball Recruits: Class of 2009”

  1. Marlo Stanfield Says:

    Duke is back in a big way. They just need a hard core post presence and it’s on for a National Championship. Love Kyle Singer and I love Gerald Henderson. Go DUKE!!!

  2. Matt Sacks Says:

    If you’re interested in seeing some exclusive video of Kenny Boynton check out The Perfect Rotation webisode at my website…benoticedproductions.com.

  3. Gatorsidney Says:

    I am a Gator fan and I view your national title optimism with great interest. You mention Georgetown being a rival of Duke in recruiting, which it is, but I think UF is becoming an ever bigger rival, with Donovan landing two of the coveted big men on this list of potential Dukie recruits.

    You see Donovan and coach K want the same guy, suburban white player and mainstreamed black player, who is not too urban or “street.” Coach Williams at UNC would recruit the same guy when he was at KU and Knight before him at IU. Donovan now has a couple of Titles under his belt and has gained ground on coach K for the elite suburban white player.

    I think Donovan and coach K are doing some real soul searching these days. Donovan won to Titles with virtually an all black team of good athletes and one really good white shooter, which is counter to the type of team he really covets which is a team that looks like the teams Duke puts on the floor.

    What has happened are the athletes are becoming so phenomenal coming out of HS they have surpassed great coaching. There used to be a time when a great coach like Dean Smith, Knight, K could have a lot of white players, coach them up better than every other coach, and beat teams with superior athletes. The athletes are getting so good so early, a great coach+very good suburban white dominated teams can’t go as far in the NCAAs. Coach K can’t get much better than great, but the players can get better every year.

    Yes UF and Duke can win a lot conference games with the Duke formulation, but have a hard time winning in the NCAAs with the intensity and defense of the NCAA tournament. Donovan faced the fact for 5 years prior to his title years and this past year when he was led by Matt Walsh, Matt Bonner, Christian Drejer, Brett Nelson, Teddy Dupay, and now Dan Werner and Nick Calathes. But he too many of those guys on his teams at one time, he could not offset their slowness with enough athletes.

    Donovan appears to be loading up with athletic players in the next two classes, which will get him back in the Title hunt. Donovan is still young enough to learn new tricks. The question is whether Coach K will continue to try to get to a title with his usual team formulation. I think he as at an age where men get very set and stubborn. They are going to do it their way and that is the only way. The last team to win a title with the Duke mix, was Duke. The Final Four used to be the Duke invitational, but those days are starting become a distant memory.

  4. The Mixtape Monster Says:

    @ Marlo-

    How can Duke be “back in a big way” when they have gotten bounced before the Sweet 16 the past 2 years. Embarasssssssssingggggg.

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