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Duke Recruiting: The Goldwire Backstory

This is good stuff but there’s a missing piece to this puzzle.

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NCAA Basketball: Maine at Duke
Dec 3, 2016; Durham, NC, USA; (from left) Duke Blue Devils assistant coach Nate James along with associate head coach Jeff Capel and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and assistant coach Jon Scheyer and special assistant Nolan Smith watch their team against the Maine Black Bears in the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of amusement and a bit of shock this week after Duke swooped in out of nowhere and signed PG Jordan Goldwire out of Georgia.

A three-star guard, Goldwire was expected to sign with Eastern Kentucky. He was unknown enough that people weren’t initially sure if he was a point guard or shooting guard or, maybe, a combo guard. has a piece up on how this happened.

Turns out EKU’s Dan McHale had worked on Goldwire for months and saw him as “the last piece” for his team.

He would’ve been the starting point guard for Eastern Kentucky from the beginning.

Instead, Duke jumped in and...well, let McHale explain: “We recruited (Goldwire) hard for months. Duke recruited him for days, hours. But it was Duke. What are you going to do?”

But there’s a piece of this story missing and we won’t know for a while what it is.

Goldwire says that Duke wants someone to run the second unit and that makes sense.

Duke has gone after guys like this before - Tyler Thornton most recently but also Andre Buckner.

Thornton came as insurance for Kyrie Irving and Buckner did the same when Jason Williams signed.

That one was more significant because it came the year after Duke’s first early-entry guys left the program. Corey Maggette left after his freshman year and Elton Brand and William Avery after their sophomore years.

When Avery left, it wasn't at all clear how Duke would recover. People understood Williams was going to be good, but not many people thought he was going to be what he became.

It’s been a long time, but as we remember - Al Featherston might know - Buckner, a native of Kentucky, was going to go to either Eastern or Western Kentucky before Duke got involved.

Anyway, Thornton was the better prospect of the two but when you’re looking for guys who can accept a role coming off the bench, you’re not necessarily looking at just the talent. Something else caught your eye.

We’ve been wondering what it was with Goldwire. Clearly something impressed Duke. Coach K and his staff must have seen something in the kid, other than his athletic potential, that really jumped out at them.

The jokes and silliness over Duke going head-to-head with the Colonel’s has been fun, but all that aside, something about Goldwire must have made a huge impression. Four years of whatever that is going to help.

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