Harrison Barnes is gone. It’s over. It’s time to forget. We here at Big Duke Balls wish him the best, but we hope to crush his soul over the next 2-3 years. Not his actual soul of course, just his basketball soul.
Now though, it’s time for us and the rest of Blue Devil Nation to move on. In fact, the Duke coaching staff has already moved on to the next available stud small forward, Roscoe Smith.
In fact, according to Scout, the Duke coaching staff has been in touch with Smith this past week.
However, unlike year’s past, where Coach K has put all his eggs into one basket, the Duke coaching staff has been on top of Smith for a while now. They offered him a scholarship a while back and have seen him in action a handful of times, including Coach K himself in Las Vegas.
What do you need to know about Mr. Smith?
He’s a 6-7 small forward, who is attending Oak Hill Academy for his senior season. If you’ve followed college basketball for five minutes, you know that Oak Hill is an elite basketball factory that has produced Carmelo Anthony, Michael Beasley, Ty Lawson, Stephen Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Kevin Durant to name a few.
Current Duke starter, Nolan Smith also played at Oak Hill.
According to Scout.com, Roscoe Smith is the 36th best player and the sixth best small forward. According to ESPN, he’s the 16th best 2010 recruit and the 4th best SF. You pick which site you want to believe.
He’s long and athletic and can shoot from anywhere on the court. He has the ability to create his own shot, although he needs to work on heading left. Despite needing to get stronger, he’s an active rebounder.
Here’s what ESPN had to say:
"Smith is a smooth jump shooter with three point range and can also knock down one or two dribble pull ups. He has good length and can shoot over smaller defenders with ease. He has a good looking stroke as he spots up in transition deep in the corners or slides to the open area on dribble penetration. He trigger is quick and he has confidence in his jumper.Smith can get on a roll and hit three or four in row. He uses a good shot fake in order to raise the defender to set up his pull up. He has trouble finishing at the rim at times because of his lack of strength and he must work to improve his scoring moves off the bounce especially going to his left but overall Smith has excellent shooting skill and good upside."
Now can Duke land him? That’s the million-dollar question right now.
Duke returns a solid core of talent next season (Two Plumlee’s, Nolan Smith), one amazing transfer (Seth Curry), while bringing in a great class of freshman (power forward Josh Hairston & two point guards; Thornton and Irving). Irving, the No 2 ranked point guard is the big selling point for Roscoe. Small forwards love playing with elite point guards.
Assuming Singler will be headed to the NBA after his junior season, that leaves one starting spot open for one lucky freshman…I’m talking to you, Roscoe.
Does he/Will he come?
It’s been obvious for a long time that Barnes was Duke’s top target and Smith was the second option. Some might argue that Smith might not want to be someone’s sloppy seconds. Don’t believe it.
A little while back, Smith reduced his list of potential suitors to three; Connecticut, Georgetown and Duke. It should tell you something that Duke was one of the final three, despite the fact Smith was Duke’s second option. You see, Smith has taken official visits to both Connecticut and Georgetown, but he has not taken a official visit to Durham.
Note: He has been to Duke though in an “unofficial” visit.
It is also important that Smith hasn’t signed yet. It’s clear that he was waiting to see where others, especially Barnes would land. This could mean that Duke was his No 1 option and he was just waiting to make sure there was a starting spot waiting for him. I could also be full of sh*t. In all honestly, it’s probably somewhere in the middle.
The kid has been waiting for a reason though and that has to be a good sign. He should now (soon) make an official visit to the Duke campus. This should mean that Coach K will get the last crack at the kid. While on campus, he’s going to get the kitchen sink treatment.
There is no word on when Smith will make his final decision. According to Christopher Lawlor over at ESPN:
Smith thinks he may announce sooner and than later. There’s a remote chance it could come next week .
Landing Smith will make all of Duke nation forget about the name, Harrison Barnes. He may not be as polished as Barnes is, but he has the potential to have an outstanding college career.
With no more recruits, the Blue Devils already have a top-10 class. With Barnes we would have been No 1. With Smith, Duke’s class would easily be top-five, maybe even top three.