Found March 22, 2012 on
UPDATE (3/22 11:51 AM ET): According to @RealJayWilliams, Mason Plumlee will test the NBA waters.
With the season over the Duke coaching staff is looking to add some additional talent to the incoming recruiting class but a few decisions may be holding things up.
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If this season proved anything, the Blue Devils need some more athleticism and a quality on-ball defender.
The Duke coaching staff is hoping that the lone signee for the incoming class of 2012, Rasheed Sulaimon, will live up to some of the early comparisons to Nolan Smith, but they aren't going to settle for just a class of one.
Sulaimon, a shooting guard, stands to be an immediate impact player but he doesn't quite fill the void on the wing, something that the Blue Devils struggled to do all season.
Duke has its eyes set on two targets in Amile Jefferson and Shabazz Muhammad, both athletic post/wing type players who certainly could help fill that role. Muhammad is the more explosive and dominant scorer, while Jefferson appears to be an athletic and versatile big man who could play out on the wing a bit.
Both are high priority targets, but could their decisions be dependent on those being made by Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee?
Duke's third-team All-American guard, Rivers, and third-team All-ACC big man, Plumlee, are deciding on whether their immediate future will include one more season as a Blue Devil or a move to the NBA.
It has been said Muhammad would be more interested in Duke if Rivers stayed, but I wouldn't think it would be any guarantee. My gut tells me that Muhammad isn't likely to sign with the Blue Devils though what do I know?
The word is that Jefferson is a more likely get for the coaching staff and they used their early their early NCAA Tournament exit to make an appeal to the lanky big man.
Obviously the decisions of Rivers and Plumlee to possibly stay could be a big draw for either, as the Blue Devils likely would be better with both than without. It seems many in the Duke fanbase aren't all that hopeful that Rivers will stay though.
Some cryptic tweets about his wanting to prove all his doubters wrong could mean just about anything, and a player who is still wrapped up in the emotional roller coaster following the end of a season can always say one thing today and change his mind tomorrow.
The bottom line is Duke needs a influx of athleticism. Without Muhammad or Jefferson Duke is still on solid ground if Rivers and or Plumlee return.
However, if neither comes and both Rivers and Plumlee leave, 2012-2013 could be a shaky season as there wouldn't be an elite player on the roster. Duke would still be talented for sure, and they would play hard, but it always helps to have a go-to-guy and that scenario opens up the possibility of not having that.
The decision time line is as narrow as ever as early April marks both the deadline for underclassman to open up the possibility of going pro and the late signing period for high school seniors approaches.
Given the disappointment of how this season ended it is likely to be a long and perhaps painful wait for Duke fans.
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