I know we don't want to have individual threads for each recruit and Austin isn't a top five type of guy, but he seems to be a very important recruit for this cycle, particularly with Julius moving on. Would love to discuss his play and recruitment in more depth now.
Hopefully we put on a good show for him this weekend!
So Austin visits this weekend...do we have expectations of when he might make a decision?
Adam Rowe @DukeHoopBlog
Duke has its #1 priority big man coming to town this weekend in Austin Nichols. Randle wasn't likely coming to Duke. Win some, lose some.
Jason Jordan @JayJayUSATODAY
In light of today's developments, I think Duke may change the red carpet to platinum this weekend for Austin Nichols. #justahunch
Edit....third tweet added
John Martin @JohnMartinCA
Briarcrest F Austin Nichols visit schedule: Duke Oct. 6, Auburn Oct. 13, and finishing up at Tennessee Oct. 20.
Austin is now a very, VERY important recruit to the Duke program. Even if Marshall developes into a competent center, Austin can play the PF postition and we will be loaded at the SF postition whether we get Jabari or not so our front line will be strong.
I've seen Austin play a couple times and his play (and his body) has improved tremendously. He could always run the floor, has good hands, and just dunks everything but I'm guessing the 20-25 lbs he's picked up in the last year has made him much more of a threat inside to take contact and still finish and also makes him stronger on the boards.
He's currently #23 in the RSCI, with the potential to move up (ESPN and PrepStars moved him up to 10 and 14, while Scout and CBS have him at 47 and 49; assuming the latter haven't updated in awhile (which may or may not be true), we could be looking at a guy in the mid-teens by the end of the season, not that rating is the be-all, end-all). Still, it's hard to say that a non-top 10 guy, who despite his recent weight gain still needs to put on more muscle to play inside in college, would make or break anything for Duke.
He'd be a nice get, but I wouldn't go farther than that.
Randle, IMO, was a huge blow because he easily could have played the 5 when Marshall was out. Although Randle would have likely only been at Duke for a year, it would have given the coaching staff another year to recruit the big men that we want/need.
I'm confident that the coaching staff can get Nichols. He seems like a solid prospect and the true big man that can remedy the issue above.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill
President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club
Seems to me he is an important recruit for Duke....seems taller than 6'8" and has the long arms and good hands (!) that IMO make him an inside player, likely to be best used within 10 feet of the basket
I could see him in lineups where he would be the "big" along with one or two tall wings and the other players 6'4" or less
Esp. important if it turns out Marshall P. does not become more than a role player (not sure what to expect from Marshall, honestly)
If he commits to Duke, I think that's it for 2013; Jabari Parker would still be a target, though who knows how that goes?
We're going to need an inside presence after Mason leaves and I agree, we have no idea how Marshall will develope. Remember, we've really struggled to develope big men in their first 2-3 years over the last decade or so. We got almost nothing from Zoubek until his senior year and Shav, Josh, and even Miles never turned out to be what everyone thought they could be. Mason is in his 4th year (thank gawd he came back) and we haven't got consistant play from him night in and night out for 3 years. In 2013-14 if we don't get Austin, Marshall isn't ready, and K's penchant to play 3 guard lineups, who will we have to rebound on that team?? That is why Austin is so important.
Nichols isn't a huge recruit, but we are running low on big man recruits since losing out on Randle. Also, while my hopes for Marshall are high, he has done absolutely nothing to prove he is the answer at the 5 for the next four years, we need back-up plans, even if they just start out being back-ups.
Z and Shav had severe injury problems almost their entire Duke careers. Josh was always considered a tweener and a project. I don't think anybody envisioned him as a game-changing big man. None of these guys can be fairly used as a template for predicting how quickly Marshall Plumlee will develop. And Mason, despite his inconsistency, has averaged 9 ppg and 8.75 rpg over the past two seasons, along with 1.6 bpg. If Marshall can manage anything close to that, we should all be happy.
Also, if as you say, we've really struggled to develop big men in their first 2 to 3 years, why do you think Austin Nichols will be able to make a difference during his freshman year? You're sort of arguing against yourself.
What do you mean Josh was a project?? He was the #1 high school recruit coming out of high school on a lot of the lists, even ranked higher than Hansbrough. He was the MVP of the McDonald's all-American game. He was projected to be far more of a player at Duke than they ever got from him. I don't think he ever made first or second team all-ACC, did he? If injuries were so much of a problem for Shav and Brian, a redshirt year should have been considered. Can you imagine the 2010-2011 team with Brian had they had him for another year?
And Shav for years and now Miles are hanging around NBA rosters so the talent is there. Miles athletic numbers are off the charts, far more than even Davis's at UK. Why didn't we get any more than .8 blocked shots a game from him and Davis averaged, what, 4-5 blocks a game and altered about a half dozen more. I think Miles numbers this year in the NBA will be better than any of his numbers at Duke. Just watch.
That being said, Duke has been a guard oriented team for the last decade or more so it's easy to see why the big men aren't developed efficiently. A lot of times they are just used to set screens 20-25 ft from the basket.
While we're asking questions, if Duke is so poor at big man development, what is the standard? What is the gold standard?
Who HAS developed big men?
Certainly Jim Calhoun has that reputation, and yet he turned Andre Drummond - the consensus #1 recruit who might have been picked #1 in the NBA if allowed to turn pro out of high school, into a college role player who was drafted on potential alone. Coach Cal really developed the "unibrow" Davis' offensive game while at Kentucky - how many points did he score in the championship game?
Hansbrough developed well, but he was 20 yo when he arrived at chapel hell. Henson sure as hell didn't develop, he couldn't even complete one rep on the bench press at the NBA combine after three years at unc training.
I would suggest that Duke does quite well at developing big men, and that Miles is certainly proof of that fact.
Quite frankly, the only emotion I felt when Josh left for the NBA was relief.
Josh was the No. 1 player in his class out of Carmel, correct? So he was certainly not a project. He was just rated too high.
He didn't have to use/practice that low post game his freshman year because we had Shelden Williams. Josh wasn't my favorite player ever, in fact far from it, but the reason Josh didn't jump in points his sophomore year was because he refused to shoot fairly often, he was always looking to pass. He may have been a locker-room problem, but he was unselfish on the court as far as I remember.
I know that a lot of us are a little disappointed with our big men production and development in the past few years, some of it is justified, some of it's not, but lets not argue about things that happened 6-7 years ago like Shav and Josh, it's almost irrelevant now. What we can focus on is Austin's upside, how the coaches can develop him, and whether or not he's going to come to Duke