Posted: 4/19/2012 7:19:54 AM
Its the question that every fan base for every school recruiting class of 2012 forward Amile Jefferson is asking: Will Calvin Leslie's decision to remain in school affect Jefferson? There are no easy answers and the only one that can answer that question is Jefferson himself and so far he isn't talking.
Jefferson is a unique player and seems like a great kid with a good head on his shoulders. He is listed as a power forward, though at this point, doesn't have a power forward body. He is long and lean and definitely has to get stronger.
Leslie coming back has a huge impact on NC State who now appear to be the front runners (not a typo) to win the ACC next season. Many, myself included, felt like without Leslie NC State had a leg up on Duke for Jefferson's services.
They play a very similar position and to an extent have a similar skill set. Of course that doesn't mean that Jefferson isn't going to go to NC State.
In my mind, the Pack are competing with Kentucky, who obviously coming off a national championship season as well as having their entire starting five depart for the NBA, is an appealing place to Jefferson.
Duke might be in third place among his choices, but you never know.
NC State is on the rise and Kentucky, well they will reload and probably be a beast again next year with the top recruiting class coming in again. But don't forget Duke. If the Blue Devils have a shot it may be because of something it has that the other two school don't: Academic reputation.
Now that isn't to belittle the academics of either school, I myself am an NC State alumni, but Duke is on a different level and Jefferson has expressed a lot of interest in a school that can offer him strong academics.
Duke has that without question. Jefferson has a great deal of respect for Krzyzewski and with the transfer of Michael Gbinije there is definitely some playing time to be had at the forward position at Duke.
Granted the same can be said for either Kentucky or NC State. There is no question though to me, that Duke could use Jefferson more than either NC State or Kentucky given their respective lineups.
With only Jefferson and Tony Parker left on the Blue Devils' radar for the class of 2012, and Parker not likely to choose Duke (my opinion) then Jefferson is likely a high priority.
He has drawn a lot of comparisons to Lance Thomas and Tony Lang, two former Duke players who were lanky power forward type players.
Jefferson would not come in and start right away. Depending on his ability to play against stronger more experienced players as well as his ability to pick up the defensive system, his playing time could be any range of time.
Fans are analyzing Leslie's decision to see where Jefferson will go, but like I said I think there will still be playing time for him with the transfer of Deshawn Painter at NC State and of course the mass exodus at Kentucky should mean a few minutes at least.
Ultimately the decision falls on Jefferson and what he values more. If immediate, guaranteed playing time is a bigger priority for him then Duke likely won't be his choice as that playing time wouldn't be guaranteed.
That isn't to say it would be else where but it definitely isn't something Mike Krzyzewski promises. In the end it might be academics that sway his decision and if that is the case I like Duke's chances.
He will also have to choose between the best coach in the game, versus a good coach building up a program, or a coach that can bring in massive amounts of talent and manage them while winning a lot of games.
A time table for his decision has not been announced and that could be a good sign for the kid, because no matter where he goes he is taking his time and weighing his options.
And unlike some, he doesn't make an announcement every other day only to renege on that announcement days later. He has taken a very quiet approach to his recruitment which is why, above maybe any of Duke's final three targets in this class, he appeals the most to me.
That and he actually seems to care about school, which can't be said for most of the one and done generation of players.
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