Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central), No. 25 overall and the best prospect remaining in the 2012 class, will announce his college decision at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday afternoon.
The finalists – I believe – are NC State, Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State and Villanova.
On Monday, the call came through: “Dave, can you write a blog handicapping Amile Jefferson’s recruitment?” I would have been more comfortable coming up with an exacta pick for the Kentucky Derby.
Disclaimer: the following is not a prediction, it’s a deduction.
Typically, with a high-profile recruit, there's one school that has a pretty good idea of what the outcome will be. With Jefferson, I’m not so sure anyone has insider information.
This is a player of high character and humility. My take all along has been that his chief issue is saying “no.” If you listen to his words and hear the passion with which he speaks (even though he hasn’t spoken in a while), it’s impossible to miss the stress he’s created for himself with his indecision. Mix in different family members advocating different programs and you’ve got a young man under the spotlight and painted into a corner.
Behind the scenes, there are a few rumblings, other than “no one has a clue where he’s going.”
Lately, as in the past few weeks, more than once the phrase “he’d like to get away from home” came across my desk. That’s bad news for Villanova, the hometown school. While no one would be surprised if he stayed home, nobody’s handicapping the race in favor of the Wildcats either.
Leaving home means Ohio State, Kentucky, Duke or NC State. Basic information gathering processes leads to the conclusion that Ohio State is a major underdog. The Buckeyes haven’t been in recent communication or at the least steady communication with Jefferson. Then again, not too many have, but for now we’ll nix Ohio State.
All things being equal, Kentucky might have been the favorite here because Kentucky is the nation’s biggest elephant in any recruit’s living room. If you call enough folks, one or two would even pick the Wildcats, but to me, they’re missing one key ingredient. Amile’s father went on almost all of his son's visits and there’s a school of thought that says Amile couldn’t pick the Cats without pops visiting campus and he didn’t make the UK trip. Using said theory, we’ll remove the Wildcats.
Now we’re down to Duke and NC State. At this point, deductive reasoning got us here and it coincides with some information I heard near the beginning of Jefferson's recruitment: his decision would come down to teams on Tobacco Road. At the time, I was told either of them would work but there was a preference to play in that part of the country, in the ACC. Make enough calls and Duke and North Carolina State might split votes. Jefferson himself said that Duke “messed him up” when it got back involved this winter.
There, we’ve been able to narrow it down to NC State and Duke. The rest we’ll leave up to you.