Four-star point guard David Duke on IU: “It would be a good fit”

  • 07/17/2017 9:23 am in

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – At this time one year ago, David Duke was on the outside looking in.

The mailbox was empty. The phone wasn’t ringing. But, he says, the fire inside him was building.

Now the No. 47 ranked prospect overall in the 247 Composite, Duke says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“March last year, I had no offers – wasn’t ranked, wasn’t even looked at,” Duke said following Mass Rivals’ 58-55 loss to Chauncey Billups Elite Saturday at the adidas Gauntlet Finale. “I basically wasn’t recruited at all – no phone calls or letters or anything. By the summer, I think I had like three local schools, but no high major schools. Now, I have 20-plus offers and I’m still getting recruited by multiple schools. I just take that as motivation to keep going.”

Duke’s journey to this point hasn’t been an easy one. And he’s quick to point out that it hasn’t happened overnight, despite his rapid ascent into the limelight of the summer recruiting scene. It started with a few offers here and there. Then a few more. Then more, until ultimately, he warranted offers from the likes of Kansas, Florida, Villanova, Virginia and, recently, Indiana.

Duke admits he’s not exactly sure what the turning point was along the way, but he says it’s the sum of hard work and increased visibility associated with his play on the adidas Gauntlet circuit. He also credits the tutelage of hard-nosed Mass Rivals coach Vin Pastore.

“Playing on a tough circuit like this definitely helped,” he said. “Coming to the adidas circuit and having great coaching just showed me I always have to work harder. Coming out here, I got busted a couple of times and that motivates me. I try to come back better every time.”

It’s not hard to see why schools have started to notice the athletic 6-foot-3 combo guard out of Cushing Academy (Mass.). On the highly competitive Gauntlet circuit, he averaged 9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.

As for Indiana, Duke says it’s his aggressive approach that has garnered the Hoosiers’ attention.

“They like my game and how hard I play on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I definitely try to be aggressive – play hard defensively and be tough overall. It would be a good fit. I know Coach (Archie) Miller is a good coach and Coach (Bruiser) Flint is, too.”

At one point, Duke says he thought about a reclassification into the 2017 class, but that’s no longer under consideration – giving him plenty of time to make a decision. Until then, the letters and phone calls will likely continue to pour in, and Duke says he will never forget a time when that wasn’t the case.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “It’s a blessing, but I’m just going to keep working harder.”

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  • calbert40

    I’d prefer Duke over Garland. Likely a four year player, prides himself on D, and seems to have a very strong will to prove himself. Seems like an Archie player.

  • Ole Man

    Not me.
    I’d take Garland in a flash.
    He’s a player who elevates the game of his teammates.
    IU has to start thinking like a winner which will get and then lose (after a year) its share of five stars.
    IU should and will always be able to get four stars.

  • Donnie Vick

    Garland is likely a two year player anyway.

  • Lance76

    Good points Ole Man. I would like Garland & Duke or Garland & Phinisee. This might give the best balance between immediate and longer term needs.

  • calbert40

    Maybe I’m off base here, but any player who wants to bring his gang with him seems a little on the primadonna side of things to me. Still…regardless of whether that is accurate or not, I don’t think now is a good time to sign one-and-done players. Give me a 4 star, 4 year PG any day.

    Scoochie Smith was a 3 star PG, and I would have LOVED to have had Smith at IU for 4 years. Once we get outside of the top 20, the difference between #21 and #81 is minimal.

  • Arch Puddington

    Disagree. Even Coach K, who now plays the one-and-done game as well as anyone, spent the first 25 or so years of his career mostly recruiting solid rather than spectacular players. He changed a few years ago, but has multiple national championships, Olympic gold medals, and all that to base his pitch on. John Calipari has always landed elite talent, but then he is arguably the greatest recruiter in the history of the game. After those two, the number of coaches who can simply re-load 5 star talent every year and who run the kind of program we want is tiny, and there is very little reason to think that IU can just become that kind of program overnight by “thinking like a winner.” Neither the program overall nor CM have that kind of reputation or personality, and it will take time to develop it (if indeed we ever do).

    I’ve said it before: the model we will follow is almost certainly going to be more like that of Mark Few at Gonzaga or Jay Wright at Villanova: recruit solid four star players, teach rock solid defense and team basketball, and win enough over time to eventually start getting the elite players that can play for national titles. I’m not saying that CM shouldn’t go after top players, or that he won’t get some. What I am saying — and I think the recruiting and redshirting of Race Thompson speaks directly to this — is that over the next 3-4 years he will have to build a foundation with sound players and consistent performance before he can consistently play the 5 star game.

  • calbert40

    EDIT – Now, don’t mistake me…if Garland decided to come to IU, I’d be ecstatic. I just don’t think we have much shot at him, and I hope Archie is spending more time recruiting Duke instead.

  • IUMIKE1

    Well put.

    Yea, I’m still around, just reading a whole lot more and commenting a lot less. LOL

  • iugradmark

    The whole process is fascinating to watch. Of course you want to get a great player but Indiana also has needs to fill, especially after this year. I had assumed that we would use 4 of our scholly’s for 2018 and we just used one. That still leaves us with a couple unused ones in the event a late 5-star picks IU.

    As much as I would like to see a Garland come, I will be very happy if we can close on Phinisee and get the point guard position nailed down. This time of year is always like playing musical chairs for players and coaches. As kids begin to sign, it changes the game. Who still has openings, who still needs a particular position, where did someone’s friend sign, etc. Makes for a fun off-season.

  • Slappy

    Counterpoint-4/5 star kids all want to go pro.

    If your goal is to go pro, don’t you want to be with the number 1 recruit in 2018 (the friend garland mentions)? Don’t you want to be assured playing time? Don’t you want a style of play that will showcase you?

    Laundry doesn’t matter to these kids. When we get kids like gelon or priller, or even a myja white who would love to play for Indiana (laundry), fans complain that they aren’t good enough and wasting a scholarship.

    You could say it is primadonna or not like the good old days but the bottom line is fans and kids both want their own interests served. I find a kid mad about playing time as understandable or more so than a fan sweating the leaving too earlier or recruits ask too much arguments.

    End of the day if 3 stars that stayed 4 years and wanted to be here were good enough to win, crean would still be here. Instead, we expect solid students, good character, 5 stars that get a degree, and winning. Seems like the kids have a good grasp of the new normal and fans are slow to catch up.

  • calbert40

    Every D1 player wants to go pro, but only a select few EXPECT to do so after one year in college. What I said has nothing to do with “the good ole days,” or players caring about what school they play for.

    I am suggesting that for the long term success of the program under Archie, a one and done PG might not be as good of an option as the 4 star, 4 year PG.

    Also, look at last year’s Final Four and tell me that teams can’t win without one and done players. Even UNC, who has a strong ability to get the one-and-done player, won the championship with upperclassmen.

  • John D Murphy

    I agree with you in theory (about getting and losing the 5 stars) but Duke’s first step is lightning fast. I think he’ll rise in the next year.

  • HoosierHeel

    “[H]is gang” … very Phil Jackson-esque of you. Not trying to start anything just it’s painfully similar. Wanting to play with fellow All-Americans that you know pretty well makes sense to me, and maybe we get a Garland/Langford duo because of it. Doubt it, but if they want to play together, Indiana would be the place!

  • Ole Man

    I’ve been thinking that as well; but right now he is considered a one-done deal, so I’m not gonna argue with the “experts”. LOL.

  • calbert40

    Okay…his friends, his compatriots, his buddies, the guys with whom he enjoys playing, etc.

  • Donnie Vick

    Garland’s size is going to hinder him from being a one and done according to an article I read recently. I think it was on ESPN.