Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Amile Jefferson headed to Duke
By Dave Telep
The Duke Blue Devils added a critical piece to their 2012 recruiting class. Power forward Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central) ended his recruitment by selecting the Devils over NC State, Kentucky, Ohio State and Villanova.
Ranked the No. 25 overall player in the ESPN Recruiting Nation Top 100, Jefferson's recruitment was one of the most prolonged of the year. Once close to committing during the early period, the Blue Devils threw a wrench into the equation when they rekindled their interest during the middle of Jefferson's senior year.
"I definitely wanted to take a look at the school," Jefferson said. "Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you don't pass up on."
Jefferson's pledge gives Mike Krzyzewski the No. 11 overall recruiting class and a pair of McDonald's All-Americans. The scoring leader from last year's NBA Top 100 Camp, Jefferson joins fellow McDonald's All-American Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston, Tex./Strake Jesuit), the No. 12 overall prospect in the country and one of the most dangerous shooters in the senior class.
Jefferson visited Duke unofficially for Midnight Madness as a sophomore. Duke recruited him for a time following the visit but eventually moved onto to players at other positions. Jefferson then narrowed his list without the Devils and told ESPN that he was close to signing early.
During the season, after the early signing period passed, Duke made the decision to offer Jefferson a scholarship and began an aggressive pursuit of Jefferson. Krzyzewski took over Jefferson's recruitment as the Devils proceeded to make up ground.
"Once Coach K started recruiting me, I did not talk to an assistant coach," Jefferson said. "That definitely shows the coach wants you and every conversation I had with him seemed genuine. I felt like I can become a better person and player at Duke University."
As a senior, Jefferson averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds a game. Jefferson's decision matched a pair of ACC neighbors against each other. NC State, which landed three McDonald's All-Americans led by shooting guard Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C./Upper Room), was seeking to add four McDonald's All-Americans for the first time in program history.