I think the consensus was that Kyrie wasn't quite as good as the Pigeon, but Duke was desperate for a point guard, so they definitely got the guy they needed. Then I remember reading before the season started that Kyrie was really good, better than anyone expected, which kind of reminded me of the early buzz surrounding Elton Brand as a freshman. No matter what, his success and his injury probably sealed the deal. I don't think that Kyrie could have risked another freak injury before he signed a fat contract, which is definitely different from just hanging around for a year.
I'd argue that if Marvin didn't have so much help, he wouldn't have been able to leave as easily after one year.
Take Love away from that UCLA team and they probably aren't a Final Four team either. That team (with Afflalo) overachieved to reach the Final Four in 2007. They added Love (their best player) and he made them a true championship caliber team.
Austin said publicly that he hoped to be one and done. My guess is he had a better chance of being a lottery pick coming out of high school than he does now.
Finally, regarding Kyrie, I have heard from reliable sources that he expected to be one and done when he arrived at Duke. Which means he expected to be a lottery pick. Whether that expectation was realistic, who can say for certain, but having watched him in his first few games I believe it was.
The argument for recruiting elite guys whose Duke careers will be short-lived (maybe even only a season long) is to add them each year to the core of talent that is hopefully locked in for the long haul. If this happens each year (or every other year) then Duke has a better chance to win on a continued basis. That's why Coach K recruits some of these guys-- ones he think will fit in and make the team a heavyweight contender.
With respect to Austin Rivers, I think one thing that gets overlooked is that he was added to a position of surplus-- not one of need. The "chemistry" problems that people often allude to (which as far as I know are totally unsubstantiated), the idea that his teammates just stood around and "watched Austin play," and the criticism in this thread-- i.e., using Austin as an example of a "one-and-done" player who does not guarantee succeess, all seem to be looking past what was the real problem last season: lack of positional balance.
I think we will find out that Austin has NBA-lottery justified talent. He just brought it to a team last year that already had several shooting guards, and which, though it benefited from Austin's ability to create off the dribble (where he will make a living in the NBA) did not have a first class wing defender or a shotblocker or a play-making point guard. If we had Davis or MKG or Kyrie or Shabazz last year-- ie. a top talent at a position of need -- the season may have looked a little different at the end.
Anyway, recruiting is an art not a science. I just disagree with the idea that Duke cannot or should not recruit top talent because that somehow diminishes the culture or "it won't work out anyway." I think those sentiments are misplaced. Ask yourself whether Bobby Hurley or Grant Hill might be one-and-dones or two-and-dones in 2012. Would you not have us recruit them?
Deng would have also been a lottery pick. He was the #2 recruit in the country. He wasn't a threat to James as the #1 recruit, but he'd have gone ahead guys like Jarvis Hayes and Mikael Pietrus.
And Rivers would have been a mid-1st round pick, too. Probably not high lottery pick, but when you're the #2 recruit in the country, someone's going to take you in the top 15 or 20 picks.
Kyrie said that if he hadn't come back and played in the NCAA tournament he would not have left at the end of last year...
Last edited by Newton_14; 04-27-2012 at 09:49 PM.