Ever since Jeff Capel was introduced at Pitt, we’ve heard a steady stream of chatter from Lexington, all a bit gleeful and expecting that Duke recruiting will suffer.
Well we wouldn’t pop that champagne just yet.
As we learned when the Capel news broke, he wasn’t particularly involved in the recruitment of MJ Barrett, the consensus #1 player in the class, who said that his recruitment was primarily handled by Jon Scheyer.
There’s no doubt that Capel is a superb recruiter. But he didn’t recruit Danny Ferry, Johnny Dawkins, Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Jason Williams - well, you get the idea.
The other thing that Kentucky partisans don’t understand yet is that Capel's replacement, Chris Carrawell, is a huge personality. He’s highly intelligent, he’s tremendously funny and he connects with people deeply.
Carrawell has many gifts, but his finest may be his ability to communicate. He’s someone you want to talk to again and he can go into any house in America and relate to whoever lives there. We don’t know what his exact role will be but his potential as a recruiter is immense.
On a side note, as Duke’s recruiting picked up (along with Duke’s decision to pursue one-and-done players which corresponded with Capel’s return to Durham), a lot of people began to complain that Coach K had an unfair advantage as the coach of the U.S. national team.
Oddly no one thought so when he took the job. People thought it would kill recruiting.
Didn’t work out that way and soon, other coaches began to think that working with the national program was an advantage.
Guys like Sean Miller and John Calipari got involved and surely did get some inroads with recruits. But it didn’t work every time, and in at least one case, it backfired significantly.
We’re referring to Calipari’s pursuit of Romeo Langford (we could also talk a bit about how his pursuit of Cam Reddish didn't work out despite the one-on-one face time in camp and USABasketball U-19 games).
In a word, Langford’s dad was left with contempt for Calipari, the relationship fell apart and Calipari whiffed on the kid, saying this: “I just told him, ‘You came in our house, said you couldn’t wait to coach our son and do this and that,’ You had the opportunity before his back started bothering him. I didn’t appreciate it because you said you wanted to coach him and you had the chance to do it.”
The difference between how K and Cal handled their roles is that Krzyzewski saw his job as a patriotic calling while Cal saw his as an edge.
Anyway, we’d suggest keeping an eye on Carrawell. He has the potential to recruit just as well as Capel and possibly better.
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