Amile Jefferson adds fuel to Duke vs. NC State
Posted May 16, 2012
Through two ACC expansions, NC State and Duke have not been aligned as primary partners. That and the Blue Devils 21-4 record against the Wolfpack since 2000 have contributed to a watering down of the rivalry.
Amile Jefferson just poured gas on the fire.
A top recruit from the Philadelphia area, Jefferson pinged and ponged back and forth between Duke and NC State. He waited and waited, which teased both fan bases. He told Wolfpack coaches how much he loved what they are doing. They were as confident as you can be in recruiting, that Jefferson would land in West Raleigh. Even ninety minutes before Jefferson's scheduled announcement, a Wolfpack insider told me that Amile would be wearing red and white.
But in the world if recruiting, coaches, media and fans can't take all of the bait that is being tossed in the water. Until that player gives his choice by voice, hat or shaving a logo in his head, you just don't know.
Jefferson spoke about playing on the same Cameron court where so many greats have. He glowingly spoke about playing for Coach K, the guy who coaches some of the players Amile admires...LeBron, Kobe, Durant. So cynics out there, coaching the Olympic team has helped Duke recruit.
Amile's dad, Malcolm Musgrove, has said how much street cred Duke has in the Philadelphia area. Some of the credit could go to Gerald Henderson who played his high school basketball in Pennsylvania. Maybe some remember back 20 years when Grant Hill connected with Christian Laettner for the shot that beat Kentucky at the Spectrum in Philly. The power of Duke surrounded Jefferson before he became a prospect. That was a lot for NC State to overcome but credit the staff for staying in the hunt until the final hour.
Amile Jefferson knew if he chose Duke or NC State he would have to face the wrath of the non-chosen fan base during the season. One State fan that I saw the day before Jefferson announced his decision talked glowingly about Amile's game. The day after Jefferson signed up with Duke, that same Wolfpack fan told me Jefferson just wasn't that good anyway. "Go to Duke where your game won't develop," the fan said.
So welcome to Tobacco Road Amile! Harrison Barnes, who chose North Carolina over Duke, survived his visits to Cameron Indoor. Jefferson will get through playing at PNC arena wearing enemy clothing. He will get an earful and probably won't have time to read all of the creative signs designed just for him.