First Posted: 1/15/2009
Devils need players
Duke basketball fans across the state and the country were able to breathe a sigh of relief Tuesday when news broke that Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski had turned down an offer to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The courtship of Coach K by the NBA's storied franchise captivated the sports world for several days, finally ending with the news that all Duke fans hoped to hear and many expected to hear.
While the Devils will have their legendary coach on the sidelines this fall and presumably for many years to come, the drama surrounding the basketball program won't end with Tuesday's announcement.
The Devils will be shy on talent, by their lofty standards anyway, as well as depth heading into next season.
Even ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who's been referred to by some as 'Dukie' Vitale for his perceived love affair with the Durham university, said in an interview this week that the Devils likely would be looking up at North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Maryland in the ACC standings in 2004-05.
Additionally, after losing Luol Deng after one year and not even getting prized recruit Shaun Livingston on campus as a collegian at all — both players entered the NBA draft and were top-10 selections — there are now questions as to what will happen with high school standout Greg Paulus.
The New York native and Christian Brothers Academy standout is one of the premier point guards in the Class of 2005. He also committed to the Blue Devils before his junior season.
Paulus averaged 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds per game last season. Rivals.com rates the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder as the 11th-best prospect in the nation and as the No. 2 available point guard.
But here's the catch. As good as Paulus is on the hardwood, he's equally as good on the gridiron as a quarterback.
Paulus is rated by Rivals as the 65th-best football prospect in America, as well as the No. 3 pro-style field general in his class.
Paulus now is pondering the thought of playing both sports in college, and it's been hinted by members of his family as of late that the Blue Devils, who have one of the weakest football programs in the nation, could lose out on the remarkable athlete should he opt to play both sports.
Also complicating the matter is an NCAA rule that would prohibit Paulus from playing football for two years should he accept a basketball scholarship to any school.
However, Paulus could accept a football scholarship offer to his school of choice and participate immediately in basketball as a walk-on.
Schools such as Notre Dame, Miami, Florida and Syracuse are trying to lure Paulus, who passed for nearly 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior, to accept a football grant.
Stay tuned, this will be an interesting story to monitor.
While Virginia has been the story of the football recruiting season to date in the ACC, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen continues to stockpile talent in College Park.
The Terrapins already have 14 commitments for the Class of 2005 and continue to land athletes with great speed and size.
The top two verbals for Maryland to date likely would be home grown talents Morgan Green and Anthony Wiseman.
Green, a 5-11, 205-pound running back from White Plains, Md., rushed for better than 2,600 yards and 26 scores last fall as a junior and passed on offers from Boston College, N.C. State, Virginia and Penn State.
Wiseman, meanwhile, is among the top cornerback prospects in the nation. The 5-10, 175-pounder from Hyattsville picked the Terps over Michigan, Nebraska, Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
Maryland also remains in very good shape with Derrick Williams, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect according to Rivals.com.
Williams, who is from Greenbelt, Md., and could play quarterback, running back, wide receiver or defensive back in college, also is considering Florida, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
It's becoming quite clear that as long as Friedgen is at Maryland, the Terrapins will be a force in the ACC. After all, he just might be the best coach in the nation.
But you can expect NFL teams to try to lure Friedgen, a former assistant coach in the pro game, back to the NFL in the coming years.
Speaking of Virginia, the Cavaliers recently got some good news and some bad news.
Coach Al Groh landed his 18th commitment for the 2005 class when standout cornerback prospect Mike Brown announced that he would be heading to Charlottesville to play his college ball.
Brown, one of the top players in New Jersey, is among the best athletes in the nation. At a Nike camp in San Diego earlier this summer, the 5-8, 175-pounder was clocked at 4.31 in the 40 and recorded a 42″ vertical jump.
Brown had nearly 30 scholarship offers, with Tennessee and Notre Dame being his other favorites.
The Cavaliers, however, now may have 19 commitments for the Class of 2005 as news broke this week that Olu Hall, the top player in Virginia a year ago, failed to qualify academically.
Hall, a 6-4, 225-pound outside linebacker, will spend a postgraduate year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. He's expected to resign with the Cavs next February.
Hall originally picked UVa over N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Purdue.
North Carolina coach John Bunting has continued to have some early success on the recruiting trail, landing two more players from the state in the last two weeks.
The Tar Heels have gotten verbal commitments from fullback Nick Starcevic and wide receiver Brandon Tate.
Starcevic, a 6-2, 220-pounder from Charlotte Catholic, rushed for better than a 1,000 yards and 18 scores as a junior. Also known as a bruising blocker, Starcevic was hearing from South Carolina, Wake Forest and N.C. State.
Tate, meanwhile, had nearly 50 catches and 1,000 yards, as well as eight touchdown receptions, at Cummings High School in Burlington last fall. The 6-1, 180-pounder turned down offers from East Carolina and West Virginia.
UNC now has seven commitments for the Class of 2005.