|DWHoops Takes a First Look at the Class of 2015|
Editor's Note: For a printable version of this page, please click here. We encourage our readers to take extra copies to share at the Blue-White game on October 24 at 2 PM.
Photos courtesy Duke Photography
#12 Chelsea Gray Stockton, CA Consensus Ranking: #5 Gray is the most decorated recruit in the McCallie era, and her commitment to Duke was all the more impressive given that she's a California native. The Parade Co-Player of the year, Gray's resume is an impressive one: excellent student, MVP of the WBCA All-America game, player of the year in California, MVP of the state championships, etc. She has excellent size for the position at 5-11 and will likely step in as the starting point guard, moving Jasmine Thomas over to off guard. The reality is that Duke will, for the first time under McCallie, have two attacking guards in the starting backcourt. Gray is a good shooter and is especially adept at creating her own shot from anywhere on the floor. She has a great first step and a baffling crossover, which allows her to get to the rim at will. She's nursing a toe injury in the early part of the season, which means that it will take time for her to get in optimal shape. Look for her to take about a month or so to round into form as she gets used to playing defense at a high level as well as what the best shot to take is against ranked opponents. That said, Gray has star power, charisma and mental toughness to spare. She's used to dominating in the most pressure-packed of situations, and playing next to Jasmine will make both players better.
#15 Richa Jackson Midwest City, OK Consensus Ranking: #12The 6-0 wing knows only one mode: attack. Her sturdy frame allows her to absorb contact as she uses her quickness to fly by opponents. She's especially effective going baseline. Jackson is also a solid shooter who can pull up or spot up to hit shots. The long-time Duke fan (one of a generation of players who grew up admiring Alana Beard) is an impressive get for Coach McCallie and chief recruiter Samantha Williams, considering how difficult it is to get stars from Oklahoma away from the Big XII (or however many teams they have left). Jackson will likely start the season backing up Karima Christmas at wing, but don't be surprised to see sets where both players are at forward in an effort to provide matchup problems. If Jackson can commit to using her quickness on defense and attack the boards, she will get all of the minutes she can handle.
#33 Haley Peters Red Bank, NJ Consensus Ranking: #17 6-3 forward Peters may be the freshman who's best prepared to make an immediate impact. With a roster spot available at power forward the relentless Peters has a chance to step in and start immediately. She's already one of the hardest workers on her team, something she'll need to do to make an impact. Haley may remind fans of Michele Matyasovsky in the way that she'll be able to play multiple positions and move well without the ball. Peters is a reasonably strong player who will need to get stronger in order to hold down the power forward spot. The best thing about her game is that she's not a ball-dominant player (unlike J.Thomas and Gray). She doesn't need the ball in her hands or plays run for her in order to be effective. Watch for Peters to make hustle plays, get offensive boards and tip-ins and set key picks. She will also force the defense to work by running them ragged and make them pay by hitting open shots.
#32 Tricia Liston River Forest, IL Consensus Ranking: #42 The 6-1 wing's greatest asset is her deadeye shooting. In high school, she was able to use her size to overpower smaller guards, something that's not likely to happen at this level. Liston can run the floor well but is not otherwise especially quick. Still, she's an extremely crafty player who isn't just a shooter. Liston is adept at posting up and finding gaps in the defense and can certainly finish. Of course, all of that is secondary to her deep range. Liston will be competing with Kathleen Scheer as Duke's designated zone-buster. The key to success for either player will be having confidence in her shot while understanding when to shoot and when to pass. That's a tricky distinction to make for a player trying to find her way, but there's no doubt that Liston has all the requisite tools to be effective in that regard. Like the other frosh, how well she defends will also have an impact on her minutes.
#4 Chloe Wells Colton, CA Consensus Ranking: #45
Wells is a 5-7 point guard who was the last member to join Duke's #1 recruiting class. She first came to Coach McCallie's attention when she spent a year playing for her father at Apex High in North Carolina. She's a pure point guard with good speed & quickness and deep range on her shot. Wells has excellent floor vision and is great at finding the open teammate. Like the other freshmen, Chloe will need to adjust to the speed and physicality of the game at this level, especially since she had to sit out her senior year due to a districting technicality when she returned to California. Chloe will likely be competing with Shay Selby for minutes as a back-up point guard. She'll earn those minutes if she hits open shots, takes charges and takes care of the ball.