Duke

Here’s who you think are the worst misses in Duke, NC State and UNC hoops recruiting

Duke guard Brandon Ingram looks to move against Yale forward Justin Sears, left, in the 2016 NCAA tournament.
Duke guard Brandon Ingram looks to move against Yale forward Justin Sears, left, in the 2016 NCAA tournament. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Many college sports fans never quite forget that one recruit that got away.

Fans can get attached to players who play through high school. But when that recruit picks a college other than the one where the fan wanted him to go, the loss can sting for a while.

We asked N.C. State, North Carolina and Duke fans which recruiting misses still hurt. This is what they said:

Chris Clemmons: @ChrisClemmons66 #NCState has to say Dominique Wilkins. This #UNC grad says Kenny Anderson for us.

Kenny Anderson graduated in 1989 from Archbishop Molloy High School, near Queens, N.Y., where he was one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country.

And UNC was one of the schools after him.

“Kenny Anderson wanted assurances that he would run the show at Carolina and the ball would be in his hands,” said Dan Collins, a longtime Wake Forest and ACC beat writer for the Winston-Salem Journal, who covered Anderson’s recruiting in the late 1980s. “And (UNC coach) Dean Smith said no you’re going to work within the team framework. And that was a major factor in the recruiting.”

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s then-head coach, Bobby Cremins, told Anderson that he would run the show for the Yellow Jackets, Collins, who also wrote “ACC Basketball Book of Fame,” recalled.

“During his press conference, Anderson said he wished he could cut himself into three,” Collins added. “He would give his left arm to Syracuse, right arm to Carolina, and his body to Georgia Tech. And his heart belongs to the body.”

Anderson played two years at Georgia Tech as the starting point guard and helped lead his team, along with Dennis Scott and Brian Oliver, to the Final Four in 1990.

McKenzie Sumner: @Neck_Bone09 “So I’d say Jay Williams. Gut didn’t want him and his career at Duke coincided with a disasterous (sic) fall of UNC basketball.”

Losing a recruit to a conference opponent is bad but losing him to your rival is worse. Jason Williams, who played at St. Joseph’s High School in Plainfield, N.J., was the top-ranked high school point guard in the country.

The Tar Heels were high on Williams’ list.

But he ended up signing with Duke in 1999.

He helped lead Duke to an NCAA national championship in 2001 and was the NCAA player of the year in 2002.

Blair Holloway: @BSHolloway “For Duke Jared Jeffries was a tough miss. But to me the biggest is (Shaun) Livingston even though not technically a “miss” since he went NBA”

Duke actually had Shaun Livingston. The Blue Devils signed the 6-7, 186-pound McDonald’s All-American point guard in 2004, but Livingston opted to enter the NBA draft in June 2004. He was drafted No. 4 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.

At the time Livingston was signed, he was the No. 1 high school point guard in the country, and No. 2 recruit overall, according to Rivals.com. He was supposed to be a replacement for Duke guard Chris Duhon, who had graduated.

Livingston in June won his second NBA title in three years with the Golden State Warriors.

Kyle Morton: @k_morton9 “John Wall to State for sure”

John Wall was the No. 1-rated point guard and No. 2 overall player in the country coming out of high school in 2009.

Wall, who’s from Raleigh, played at Garner Magnet High School during his freshman and sophomore years in 2004 and 2005. His family moved to the Broughton school district the following year where he was cut from the basketball team. He then transferred to Word of God Christian Academy and was admitted as a sophomore. At Word of God he averaged 19.7 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds per game during his senior season in 2009.

N.C. State fans wanted him to go to the hometown college. There is an expectation that if a five-star recruit is in your backyard, you should be able to get him.

Landing Wall would have helped Sidney Lowe, the then-N.C. State coach, who was never able to get the Wolfpack over the hump.

Wall ultimately chose Kentucky in coach John Calipari’s first year at the school. Calipari’s recruiting classes have consistently been in the top three since he took over the program.

James Curle: @JamesCurle “Pete Maravich. His dad Press coached at State and left for LSU (by all accounts) because Pete couldn’t meet State’s academic requirements.”

Pete Maravich moved to Raleigh, when his dad, Petar “Press” Maravich, joined the coaching staff at N.C. State in 1964. The younger Maravich attended Broughton High School, where he earned his nickname “Pistol Pete.” He graduated in 1965 and went to Edwards Military Institute in Salemburg,where he played basketball for a year.

When Petar Maravich became the head coach at LSU in 1966, he offered his son a spot on his team..

Pistol Pete is considered one of the best point guards of all time, and is the NCAA’s Divison I all-time leading scorer with 3,667 points. He averaged 44.2 points per game at LSU.

Josh Jarrell: @ThatDudeDeuce “Duke fan- (Harrison) Barnes because he would have fit our offense perfectly.”

Harrison Barnes was the No. 1 recruit in the country in 2010. Duke and UNC were at the top of the list.

His commitment announcement was one that many will never forget.

In front of a crowd at his high school in Ames, Iowa, Barnes used Skype to contact UNC coach Roy Williams and let him know that he would be joining the Tar Heels. The announcement was broadcast on national television.

It was a big blow to Duke, which hadn’t been to a Final Four in six years. But Duke ended up winning the national championship that year.

Kirin Iven: @kilajive “Ingram to UNC”

Brandon Ingram, who’s from Kinston, was the No. 3 recruit in the nation in 2015. And he was a huge recruiting priority for the Tar Heels.

Ingram was one of the final top recruits to commit, and many hoped he would follow in the footsteps of Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Bullock, Kinston High grads, like Ingram, who both went on to play at UNC.

Ingram said the potential punishments from UNC’s academic scandal was a factor in his decision to go to Duke. Ingram was also a Duke fan growing up.

N.C. State was also in the mix for Ingram.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

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