Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in college basketball history, has recruited and developed countless high school prospects into college winners and professional competitors.
In his last ten recruiting classes, Krzyzewski landed a total of 30 five-star prospects. He landed at least two five-star prospects (according to 247 Sports) in eight classes, including a streak of four-straight classes with four five-star prospects from 2015-18.
Without question, the staffs that Krzyzewski has built around him at Duke, with assistants like Pitt’s Jeff Capel, future Duke head coach Jon Scheyer, Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker, Austin Peay head coach Nate James, have been phenomenal recruiters at Duke.
While Capel credits the excellent staffs at Duke as well, he also thinks Krzyzewski deserves a bit more credit for the job he has done on the recruiting front.
“I actually think it’s the most underrated part of all of the things that people talk about him,” Capel said on Monday. “I don’t think he gets nearly as much credit as a recruiter. He has been an elite recruiter from the eighties on. With the first class with Johnny [Dawkins], [Jay] Bilas, [Mark] Alarie, David Henderson, that crew. He has put together really elite classes since then. He’s had really good assistants, whether it was Brey, Amaker, Snyder, after they left, Henderson, Dawkins, after they left, Wojo, Chris, Jon now, those guys there, but the one common thing has always been him. He is an elite recruiter.”
While Capel was at Duke from 2011-18, he, Krzyzewski, and the rest of the Duke staff recruited, signed, and coach future pros including Jabari Parker, Luke Kennard, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter, Gary Trent Jr., Jahlil Okafor, Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, and more.
“Seeing people’s reactions when I went back there and worked, whether it was the kids, whether it was the family, fans at some of the events depending on what it was, it was unbelievable,” Capel continued. “He was a rockstar. Getting him in a home and seeing him, especially when he is really on and it’s someone he really wants, it was unbelievable to watch.”
Since arriving at Pitt, Capel has landed two top-35 classes, one in 2018, and one in 2020. He has signed five four-star prospects, and also recruited and signed three-star prospect and now NBA player Justin Champagnie.
Capel and Krzyzewski will face off one final time in the regular season on Tuesday night as Pitt hosts Duke at the Petersen Events Center at 8 p.m.