Good news for Duke on the basketball recruiting front. Recently, Diamond Stone, the 5 star center from Milwaukee, WI, narrowed down his list of potential college choices to five. Duke made the cut, along with Maryland, UConn, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.
At 6’10, 253 pounds, Stone is ranked by Rivals as one of the nation’s top five overall players in the 2015 class. Last year he led his Dominican High School basketball team to their third consecutive Division 4 state title. This summer he helped Team USA win the gold at the FIBA U17 World Championships, averaging 13.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
In a world where basketball has shifted to more of a small ball mentality, Stone is still confident in his skill set and the value he would add to any team. Plus it doesn’t hurt that he has a 7’3 wingspan. Scouting reports of the prized recruit say he’s a “versatile big man on the offensive end. Excellent with his back to the basket and a stout rim-protector.”
Evan Daniels of Scout.com sings Stone’s praises, “He’s probably the best high school post scorer we’ve seen since DeMarcus Cousins. He’s just polished on the offensive end. He’s not physically dominant yet but he has terrific hands, great touch, he can hit hooks over both shoulders, he has counter moves and he can step out and hit jump shots.”
Daniels had previously called Duke’s incoming freshman, Jahlil Okafor, the best post player since Cousins, but Stone has him singing a new tune. Okafor is currently on the Duke roster, but as a destined “Diaper Dandy” he’s most likely a one and done. Having Stone waiting in the wings would be a huge coup for the Blue Devils.
Stone has expressed interest in being recruited as part of a package deal with the top shooting guard in the 2015 class, Malik Newman. The two became close friends after playing for the USA Basketball U-16 team in Uruguay last summer. They still talk everyday.
Similar to the Okafor-Tyus Jones situation, Stone and Newman would love the opportunity to play together at the next level, but it has to be the right fit for the both. According to Stone’s father, neither player would go with his plan B just to play with the other. The situation has to be mutually beneficial. So far, out of the five schools Stone is choosing from, only UConn has offered scholarships to both the center and shooting guard.
Any one of the five schools would be thrilled to have Stone as their crown jewel. After hearing what Stone’s father had to say, the Duke coaching staff has to feel optimistic that they have a shot at landing Stone on his own. He’s scheduled to announce his college choice on November 12th.