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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Chairman of the Boards? (Brian Zoubek Update)

I've blogged about him before, so you can tool around in my archives for 2005 about this 7'1" HS junior from South Jersey who has 1360 on his SATs and is choosing from among Stanford, Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Duke. The newest news: Duke has offered Brian Zoubek a scholarship.

Coach K has developed point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, wing players and power forwards, so his latest challenge will be to develop a center into an excellent college player (and, as the ad goes, a wonderful student and human being to boot, although this kid seems like he's well on his way in those regards). Christian Laettner and Elton Brand were excellent college fours, as is Shelden Williams, so for the coach who has accomplished all but everything this is his latest challenge. None was or is a five.

Notre Dame and Stanford present "easier" situations for this outstanding student-athlete. Notre Dame isn't in the stratosphere that Duke is, and Stanford recently vacated its high elevation after years of being in the Top 10. Wake is a formidable team, but if your parents have Ivy or Ivy-quality credentials (as Zoubek's do) and your academics are in that realm, it's hard to find a reason to choose Wake over Duke.

More than that, it's hard to turn down Coach K, although, as the linked article points out, a few recruits have told Duke that they're not interested, and it doesn't appear that one of the top junior wing players, Wayne Ellington, from Episcopal Academy outside Philadelphia, is interested in Duke either. That said, another top two guard prospect, Ellington's teammate Gerald Henderson, son of the former NBA player of the same name, is at the top of Duke's wish list.

If you can play serious minutes in Durham, you can play anywhere.

If you're an HS junior, what do you do? How do you say "no" to Coach K? Are you going to be the first big-time center he develops, or is there a risk that you'll become a tall "fan favorite" that is the ninth or tenth man in an eight-man rotation because the coach might revert to his tendency toward the 6'6" wing player that has taken him to three national titles, especially if you don't develop rather quickly? What's the risk in that?

Duke has fielded marvelous basketball teams over the years and a litany of terrific players. The thought of fielding a team with a 7' center who can play, who can rebound and who can pass very well is tantalizing. Duke with a 6'9" PF and a bunch of 6'6" guys is a scary proposition. A sonn-to-come-Duke with a 7' center with a serious game, along with a PF (and there are those in the pipeline too) could well give Coach K his fourth national title.

That's what they're hoping in Durham. And, if Brian Zoubek chooses Duke, that's what he's hoping too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

zoubek is going to duke.. its offical today

7:34 PM  
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