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Jeff Gravley

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. 

 

 

 

61 Comments

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  • randdjacobs May 16, 3:19 p.m.

    Amile made the right choice. He'll make an immediate impact at Duke and will hopefully help to restore the Duke basketball tradition of dominant defense.

  • onyourheels2 May 16, 3:29 p.m.

    what's all the fuss about, he's not even a top 20 recruit.

  • randdjacobs May 16, 3:31 p.m.

    what's all the fuss about, he's not even a top 20 recruit.

    — Posted by onyourheels2

    He's a 5-star recruit no less...

  • rduguyhere May 16, 4:11 p.m.

    what's all the fuss about, he's not even a top 20 recruit.

    — Posted by onyourheels2

    I think that is why he was evening considering NCSU and ended up at Dook. UNC didn't need him. lol

  • Jewelry-EricLeak May 16, 4:11 p.m.

    With Jefferson Duke might even beat Lehigh this year..........LOL

  • Ven May 16, 4:12 p.m.

    My take: Duke has a great, world-class program - consistently over the last 3 decades at least. State, great history, huge slump, definitely on the upswing. Nothing at Duke changed, so why was it so hard for Amile? I'm guessing his 'heart' said go to State. I'm sure his 'enviornment' said you don't pass up a Duke. Only time will tell and I don't wish anything bad on the kid. I just remember watching Barnes play as if he was somewhere else for 2 seasons, with his heart seemily never into UNC.

  • Wolfwacker May 16, 4:19 p.m.

    As a lifetime State fan I'm very proud of the coaching staff for the recruiting efforts this past year. I viewed the Jefferson recruitment in a positive way. What kid would not be enamored with being recruited by a true coaching legend. It really looked like it could have gone either way.
    I have never viewed Duke as the enemy and used to have season (rafter) tickets to Cameron in 82, 83, and 84 and attended many games there. There certainly was a rivalry then and hopefully will be again. I remember watching some classic games between State and Duke. One that I will never forget was JJ Reddick in Greensboro almost single handedly erasing a big lead with bomb three pointers. He was rubbbing off screeners 3 feet out of bounds while circling for a turn around 25 footer. I doubt I will ever witness a better shooting performance. It was not the end result I was looking for and the ride from Greensboro was a little longer, but it was a hell of a game. State has not always been on the short end of the stick and will win some games and recruiting battles in the future.

  • cwood3 May 16, 4:26 p.m.

    Losing that recruit hurts-alot. He could have made a big difference at State.

    However, NC State fans need to be pleased that we were in the mix. 2 years ago, we were not in the mix for McD All Americans at all. The PACK IS BACK!!!

    What a difference 2 years make. Give Debbie Yow a big bonus!! Coach Gott is a great hire as is Bobby Lotz.

  • tdouble232323 May 16, 4:28 p.m.

    Phenomenal job on Twitter yesterday Pack fans! Seeing grown men get bent out of shape about where an 18 year old attends school was fantastic!

  • gtr May 16, 4:52 p.m.

    My take: Duke has a great, world-class program - consistently over the last 3 decades at least.... View More

    — Posted by Ven

    I'd love to find another player who is "seemingly never into UNC" and yet the team miraculously overcomes his cancerous presence, not to mention several of his clutch, end-of-game baskets to compile a 61-14 mark (32-6 against ACC opponents). I mean, it's downright scary how good Carolina could have been without Barnes, right?

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