Basketball matters at Duke

Jela Duncan will give North Carolina a shot, but the Tar Heels have some serious ground to make up.

"Duke and ECU ... pretty strong," Duncan said of the Blue Devils and East Carolina Pirates' chances.

Before announcing his college decision on Feb. 1, national signing day, the tailback from Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek said he'll meet UNC's newly-hired coaches this week.

Duncan took an official visit to Duke last weekend. Despite the Blue Devils upset loss to Florida State, he said the frenzy showed by the basketball crowd was a draw for Duncan.

"Those fans are crazy," Duncan said. "It was a great atmosphere. A real good atmosphere. Just amazing."

The challenge that Duncan seems willing to participate in is getting Duke basketball fans more behind their football team, which finished 3-9 last season. That task relies on head coach David Cutcliffe, who is entering his fourth season.

"I know coach Cut is going to change the atmosphere down there," Duncan said reassuringly.

Duncan will take an official visit to Wake Forest this weekend after his unofficial visit to North Carolina. He said he considered swapping the trip to Wake with a visit to UNC to meet the Tar Heels' new coaching staff.

"I'm going to stick to my word," Duncan said.