Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Slight edge in recruiting to Roy Williams over Coach K

Since Roy Williams began coaching at North Carolina at the beginning of the 2003-04 season, the Tar Heels and Duke have met seven times.

Duke won the first three and swept the last two in the 2010 NCAA title season. In between, North Carolina won seven of nine on its way to two NCAA championships.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who’s 34-35 in his career against North Carolina, has a chance to get to .500 if Duke wins tonight.

Those are the results that really matter – the on-court wins and losses. The long-term success of both programs shows that both coaches excel at team building and game planning.

They also both have done an excellent job recruiting. Duke and North Carolina wouldn’t be winning ACC and NCAA titles if they weren’t getting good players.

In this area, though, Williams has a slight edge over Krzyzewski, according to’s team recruiting rankings. Neither class was ranked in the top 25 by in 2004.

Since then, North Carolina signed more highly rated classes than Duke four times in six years (2005 to 2010). Here is the breakdown:

Class    UNC rank        Duke rank
2010    4          10
2009    5          8
2008    11        27
2007    NR       8
2006    1          5
2005    9          2

Year by year, here is how those classes shaped up. In 2005, Duke signed Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus in what was expected to be one of the nation’s top classes. But North Carolina got Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green, who helped lead the team to two Final Fours and the 2009 NCAA title.

In 2006, Brandan Wright, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington gave the Tar Heels the top-rated players at three positions. Lawson and Ellington played pivotal roles in the team’s NCAA tournament success in 2008 and 2009. But Duke signed three players – Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek – who led the Blue Devils to the 2010 title as seniors.

In 2007, Williams had a deep roster and put all his focus on one player. If you were only going to recruit one guy in the class, Kevin Love was the right guy. But he went to UCLA, and North Carolina didn’t sign anybody. Duke’s signees included Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, who have made huge contributions the last two seasons.

In 2008, Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller led North Carolina’s class. Duke got Elliot Williams, an excellent guard who transferred after one season, and Miles Plumlee.

In 2009, Duke signed Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins, who all have shown promise as sophomores. Similarly, John Henson and Dexter Strickland led a North Carolina class that’s solid as well.

In 2010, each school landed an outstanding player. Harrison Barnes was rated the No. 1 recruit in the nation by many, and chose North Carolina after also considering Duke. The Blue Devils signed Kyrie Irving, who might have been the best guard in the nation before a toe injury sidelined him after eight games. Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall gave the Tar Heels what appears to be a stronger overall class, as they have been more productive so far than Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston for Duke.

All-Star Sports recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons agrees that North Carolina may have had a slight edge in recruiting over Duke since Williams’ arrival, but it’s not much.

“It’s so close, it’s too close to call from my observations,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons also said that Duke’s class for 2011 appears better. The spring signing period isn’t over, so it’s possible that both teams could add more players. North Carolina may look to bring in a point guard after Larry Drew II’s sudden departure.

Only Kentucky and St. John’s have stronger classes for 2011 than Duke, according to Gibbons. Guard Austin Rivers, who’s committed to the Blue Devils, generally is considered one of the top three players overall in the nation. Gibbons said North Carolina (led by forward James McAdoo) has a top-10 class for 2011.

“The point is, here are two programs that literally are going head to head in many instances for the very elite players in the nation,” Gibbons said, “and to be able to accomplish that speaks volumes for the head coaches and the tradition of their programs.”

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Article title might read the reverse after this year's Duke haul comes in. K's best recruiting class since JayWil/ Boozer/Dunleavy.

Next year for Duke:

-Austin Rivers (Rivals/Scout #1)
-Michael Gbinije (5-star wing)
-Quinn Cook (5-star PG)
-Marshall Plumlee (4-star C)

...very likely Alex Murphy (5-star forward) commits a year early to replace Singler.

Unknown said...

"Since Roy Williams began coaching at North Carolina at the beginning of the 2003-04 season, the Tar Heels and Duke have met seven times."

You then go on to review the 14 meetings. Just top notch writing.

Anonymous said...

Left out Gerald Henderson for Duke's 06 class.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nice to know the Observer can still afford those 3 martini lunches for their writers. Might want to cut back to 2 at lunch, Ken.

Anonymous said...

The UNC bias of the charlotte observer is nauseating. I think everyone would much rather y'all come out and admit the paper is pulling for UNC in everything rather than try to pass off this crap as non-bias.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love all these haters. If the Heels weren't the top B-ball program of all time, there certainly wouldn't be all these haters posting comments.

I LOVE IT!!!! Keep hating!

Go Heels!!!

Anonymous said...

Every one of you miserable community college drop out losers are pathetic. So offended that they wrote an article that offended "your" precious school (I put your in quotes because the only association you have to he school is the hat you bought whenever you jumped on the bandwagon)

Anonymous said...

heee! hahaha! hehehe!hahaha! heeeeehaaaaaaleeeehaaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against Roy boy, but I am sooooo glad Duke has Coach K.

Anonymous said...

Add Sulaimon (5-star guard) to Duke's mix.

This article is already out of date lol!