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November 25, 2006

Blue Devils ink ACC's top class

Another year, another strong recruiting haul for Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils.

This year's class, the eighth best in the nation, could have three McDonald's All-Americans in Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Taylor King.

ACC rank
1. Duke
2. Va. Tech
3. N.C. State
4. Florida State
5. Georgia Tech
6. Wake Forest
7. Boston College
8. Maryland
9. Virginia
10. Miami
11. Clemson
12. North Carolina
Singler, a 6-foot-9 forward, is the most versatile player in the nation. He should play from Day One in Durham. Smith could be the defensive guard that the Blue Devils have lacked in some time, while King is a winner. He's a tough rebounder and a guy that will hit the big shot from deep.

Virginia Tech has quietly been climbing up the ACC ranks in the win column, and now the Hokies are starting to reel in some nationally ranked talent. The Hokies inked Jeff Allen last year, but the 6-foot-8 D.C. native needed another year academically. He'll be battle tested. His last three high schools are among the best in the country - DeMatha Catholic, Oak Hill Academy and Hargrave Military.

Allen is joined by dynamic scorer Dorenzo Hudson, Baltimore combo guard Malcolm Delaney, big man Augustus Gilchrist and Georgia wing Terrell Bell.

New N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe scored two major recruits before he coached his first game as the Wolfpack's head man. He went right after Georgia big man J.J. Hickson, one of the elite power forwards in the nation. Lowe secured the five-star big man when many had pegged Hickson for the SEC.

Best of the ACC
Best perimeter scorer: Dorenzo Hudson, Va. Tech
Best low post scorer: J.J. Hickson, NC State
Best passer: Kyle Singler, Duke
Best shooter: Taylor King, Duke
Best rebounder: Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech
Best shot-blocker: Solomon Alabi, Florida State
Best defender: Nolan Smith, Duke
Most versatile: Kyle Singler, Duke
Best in the clutch: Kyle Singler, Duke
Best basketball IQ: Kyle Singler, Duke
Best pro prospect: Kyle Singler, Duke
Best interview: Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Best speed: Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
Best hands: Kyle Singler, Duke
Best motor: Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Best strength: Joshua Southern, Boston College
Best leaper: James Johnson, Wake Forest
Impact player: Kyle Singler, Duke
Biggest sleeper: Jerai Grant, Clemson
Sleeper class: Boston College
Adding Tracy Smith late in the game was a major coup. Lowe landed a North Carolina transplant that is on the upswing of his basketball career. In-state recruit Johnny Thomas could be one of the top sleepers in the conference over the next four years.

Florida State was not far off from the top 25 and checks in at No. 4 overall in the ACC. Five-star center Solomon Alabi and Julian Vaughn, a fine shooting forward from Oak Hill Academy, are a dynamic combination. They are joined by athletic wing Jordan DeMercy.

DeMercy's Norcross teammate Gani Lawal leads the pack for Georgia Tech. Lawal is joined by another Georgia's Lance Storrs and Memphis point guard Maurice Miller.

Jerry Meyer's take: Duke brings in an elite and versatile prospect in Kyle Singler, who can do just about anything on the court. Nolan Smith and Taylor King should be successful in coach Mike Krzyzewski's system...Virginia Tech has a quality potential starting five headed to Blacksburg...First year head coach Sidney Lowe makes an initial recruiting splash landing five-star post player J.J. Hickson and four-star post player Tracy Smith.

Justin Young's take: What player will be the Boston College surprise? Biko Paris could be that guy. He's quick, strong and knows how to score from the point position.Jerai Grant may not have a big national reputation but Clemson has an absolute steal here. He's a late blooming big man that fits the kind of player that shines under Oliver Purnell.Dorenzo Hudson (Virginia Tech) and Jeff Jones (Virginia) will both be among the top scorers in the ACC in their careers.Wake Forest will have a track team in the backcourt with Jeff Teague and Ishmael Smith next year.

Biggest story of the recruiting period: New N.C. State head coach Sidney Lowe wasted little time on the recruiting front, proving that he can get it done with the big boys of the ACC. He landed a top-three recruiting class in the conference and a likely McDonald's All-American in J.J. Hickson. Now he'll need to win games on the hardwood.



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