Time for Duke basketball recruiting to flex on FaceTime

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball recruiting machine contains all the necessary components to outperform the competition during this time when unconventional tactics are essentially a requirement.

Weeks. Months. Maybe a year. No matter when the NCAA lifts the ban on all in-person recruiting that is in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools’ creative solutions to these limitations in the present will surely change the game for recruiters in the long run. On this front, the Duke basketball coaches should have ample resources to become pioneers.

To the delight of all Duke basketball fans who fall asleep dreaming of five-stars, Mike Krzyzewski has at his disposal a charming crop of former players turned assistants with which to lure top players to Durham. Under the present conditions, without hosting or making a visit, Coach K and his team have already snagged a top grad transfer in former Columbia forward Patrick Tape, who on Tuesday announced Durham as the destination for his final college season.

Granted, the courtship of Tape, a Charlotte native, may have been as simple as handing over the ultimate-status-symbol scholarship offer. But the job probably won’t be quite so easy when it comes to battles for elite prep talents like forwards Jonathan Kuminga, Patrick Baldwin Jr., and Paolo Banchero (all three targets rank among the top five on the 247Sports 2021 Composite, and of them, only Banchero has taken an official visit to Duke).

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Fortunately for the Dukies, Nate James, Chris Carrawell, Nolan Smith, and Jon Scheyer (Duke’s associate head coach sits No. 1 on the 247Sports 2020 Recruiter Rankings) have long since memorized, by heart and with all their heart, all the ins and outs of Blue Devil World. So these fellas ought to make ideal guides for what is apparently becoming all the rage in this present-day reality: virtual tours.

ALSO READ: The 100 greatest Blue Devils under Coach K

On Friday, 247Sports director of basketball recruiting Evan Daniels posted an interview with undecided grad transfer Justin Turner that hinted at this tool becoming a staple on the currently roadblocked recruiting trail.  Though Turner has never been on Duke’s radar, Coach K and his cohorts would be wise to at least be aware of what he told Daniels — as his thoughts are likely a reflection of those of his peers — concerning the importance of FaceTime as he nears decision time:

“Some schools I’ve felt like I was on a visit when I was on FaceTime with them. One of the schools basically showed me the whole facility on FaceTime. I know that’s not the same, but I’m just trying to make the best of the situation…I really like [that] school…”

Well, if in-depth, entertaining, unique virtual tours are indeed what the high schoolers crave as well, then Duke’s clever crew of content creators for social media should have no problem delivering the goods. After all, there’s a reason the official Duke Men’s Basketball Twitter account has 2.2 million followers, more than double that of Kentucky, North Carolina, and any other such hoops or even pigskin accounts (yes, that includes Alabama, Clemson, LSU, you name it; check for yourself).

Of course, part of the explanation for the remarkable number of eyes on all things Duke Twitter is the abundance of Lexington and Chapel Hill residents who troll the account with a rag in hand to wipe away the drool. However, the top-shelf videos and engaging interactions via Blue Devil minds must play a part in the popularity as well.

With Tar Heels in mind, a fitting example of unrivaled Duke basketball artistry in the film department is the “Cinematic Recap” below. This montage perfectly encapsulates all the moments from Feb. 8, centering around the Blue Devils’ twice-in-one-night deflation of the entire Dean Dome (once by sending the contest into overtime and again by sinking a game-winning, buzzer-beating putback for the ages):

ALSO READ: Duke’s five most heartwarming Dean Dome wins of all time

Admit it or not, you know deep down that big-name recruits must have come across the above brilliant production. You know that, as a result, some of these recruits noticed royal-blue goosebumps they never knew they had. Therefore, you know the creative geniuses who put together that piece — and the countless other ahead-of-the-times highlights that enrapture Duke basketball junkies on social media platforms all the time — can outshine foes when putting together individually crafted virtual tours for recruits.

Translation: FaceTime with the Blue Devils inside Cameron Indoor Stadium has the potential to serve as a five-star magnet both right now in society’s ongoing isolation period and even after that glorious day when some normalcy returns to this planet.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.

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