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View Full Version : Baron Davis and Duke....



Madrasdukie
05-22-2007, 08:22 AM
A couple of weeks back with Baron Davis in the forefront of dismantling the Mavericks, and a small discussion brewing here on the board, I wondered assuming my memory might serve me right that he was recruited by Duke.
Today when I was reading Al Featherston's article I was plesantly surprised to see him mention the same.

Here's the excerpt from Al Featherston's article in the main page:

"Baron Davis (1997): The Baron Davis recruiting saga is one of the most interesting and complex situations Duke has been involved with.

The Duke staff targeted Davis very early as the point guard they wanted to succeed Wojciechowski. The southern California product was bothered by bad knees early in his career and that had kept him relatively low ranked by most gurus. But the Duke staff recognized his innate talent and were most disappointed when he committed to UCLA late in the summer of 1997."

flash
05-22-2007, 08:36 AM
The Duke staff recruited Baron Davis very hard. Alas, he got a better deal with UCLA. Harrick and son got him a real sweet deal on a SUV.

dkbaseball
05-22-2007, 09:42 AM
So the story that K stopped recruiting Davis because Davis spoke harshly to his mother is apocryphal?

Also on Al's interesting (as usual) piece: an anecdote on the recruitment of David Thompson. He may have wanted to play with Burleson, but we also did a terrible job of recruiting him. The coaching staff handed him over to one of the few African Americans on the football team at the time, not knowing that this player was deeply disenchanted with Duke. He left Thompson to amuse himself. I can still see Thompson in my mind's eye hanging around the c-room watching TV by himself on what was supposed to be his official visit.

For those too young to remember DT -- one of the two or three best college players ever.

Gordon Shumway
05-22-2007, 09:55 AM
First, Jim Harrick was gone from UCLA in the fall of 1996 due to recruiting improprieties. Steve Lavin was coach when Baron committed to the Bruins.

Second, Baron was a consensus top-10 recruit in high school and hands-down top PG prospect. (Along with Tracy McGrady, Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, and the most highly regarded of all - Chris Burgess...sigh).

Third, Baron's knees were fine in high school. He blew out his ACL his frosh year at UCLA and (IIRC) hurt his other knee his soph year.

Fourth, Duke did recruit him pretty hard and he was considered a lock for us during the summer of 1996. At some point in the fall it was clear that the staff backed off of him and was targeting Will Avery instead. This was suprising to all as Baron repeatedly said in interviews that Duke was his #1 choice and was known to contact the staff and ask for a scholarship. According to John Feinstein, this was due to some insensitivity shown towards Coach K when his mother passed away.

Lastly, word was that the Duke coaching staff made it clear to Avery that he was the only PG being recruited when they game him a scholarship offer. This idea that Duke was disappointed when Baron chose UCLA is just bunk

jimsumner
05-22-2007, 09:55 AM
And to top it off, Duke still went on probation for DT. I'm not sure that Duke ever had a realistic chance on DT but still . . . Bill Walton also visited Duke, along with Greg Lee.

Want to have fun with an alternative universe? Try Walton and Thompson at Duke. Duke also made serious efforts on Tom McMillen and John Lucas. Bucky Waters coaching a team with Walton, McMillen, Thompson, and Lucas.
Still need a shooting guard.

The mind boggles.

flash
05-22-2007, 12:36 PM
"First, Jim Harrick was gone from UCLA in the fall of 1996 due to recruiting improprieties. Steve Lavin was coach when Baron committed to the Bruins."

As I stated earlier Jim Harrick and son did broker the sweet deal on a SUV for Baron during the time of his recruitment. That is a fact not an urban legend. Several articles came out on this subject during the investigations into the recruiting improprieties that eventually led to Harrick's dismissal. Of course he went to Georgia where more improprieties in that program also led to his dismissal.

Lord Ash
05-22-2007, 07:01 PM
IIRC, the Baron Davis story was that he was annoyed with Coach K for not keeping in touch with him when Coach's mother passed away; I recall that it was basically this self-centeredness (is that a word?) that soured the coaching staff. Of course, I have no idea if this is true; it is just what I've heard.

Clipsfan
05-22-2007, 08:14 PM
"First, Jim Harrick was gone from UCLA in the fall of 1996 due to recruiting improprieties. Steve Lavin was coach when Baron committed to the Bruins."

As I stated earlier Jim Harrick and son did broker the sweet deal on a SUV for Baron during the time of his recruitment. That is a fact not an urban legend. Several articles came out on this subject during the investigations into the recruiting improprieties that eventually led to Harrick's dismissal. Of course he went to Georgia where more improprieties in that program also led to his dismissal.

You didn't mention his stint at Rhode Island in between...also rife with improprieties. At least they had Odom.

mjones723
05-22-2007, 11:34 PM
The Duke staff recruited Baron Davis very hard. Alas, he got a better deal with UCLA. Harrick and son got him a real sweet deal on a SUV.



We really shouldn't talk about stuff like that.

Gordon Shumway
05-23-2007, 01:53 AM
As this board is comprised primarily of duke alums and blue devil basketball fanatics, I hope people can look at the above comments and follow the reasoning of what I was saying in re. flash. I'm sure a good number of you remember the recruitment of Baron well enough that I don't have to say anything.

I don't wish to fall into the pointless tit-for-tat bickering that pervades this and pretty much every other site. I have better things to waste time over then nitpicking over the recruitment of a second-tier PG (compared to Magic, Zeke, Stockton, Nash, etc.) over ten years ago.

Al Featherston's the real target here. I suppose the main reason I wrote what I did above is that I'm amazed that a writer who's supposedly on the forefront of journalistic excellence in college basketball gets so much so wrong in such a short paragraph. If he was one of the bad ones I'd understand.

Perhaps I'm overly idealistic and expect too much from the media but it never ceases to amaze me how our source for truth, information, or worldly knowledge fails us as badly as it does.