Cam'Ron Fletcher and Caleb Love have caught the eye of college basketball's bluest bloods. Two of the nation's top prospects in the class of 2020, Fletcher and Love were the reason Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski was in the area Tuesday.
The coach with the most wins in NCAA history, Krzyzewski's first stop was Vashon, where he watched the 6-foot-6 and 190-pound Fletcher work out and then visited with him. Fletcher caught the eye of the Blue Devils earlier this year. Duke assistant coach and Cardinal Ritter graduate Chris Carrawell chatted with Fletcher after the Wolverines' win at CBC on Feb. 6. Carrawell was the first local player to pledge to Duke in 1996.
Ranked the No. 38 prospect in the nation and No. 10 small forward by Rivals, Fletcher is an all-around standout who has great length for his position and can finish at the rim or knock down a long-range shot.
Krzyzewski then trekked to place he knows well — CBC. Krzyzewski hasn't recruited a Cadet before, but he knows the Cadets basketball coach Justin Tatum pretty well. Justin's son, Jayson, played at Duke during the 2016-17 season before being selected as the No. 3 overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the NBA draft. Krzyzewski met with Justin on several occasions as he recruited Jayson.
But Love is the first CBC player to catch his eye, and there's good reason for that.
A 6-foot-3 and 175-pound guard, Love is the No. 39-rated player in the country and the No. 7 point guard by Rivals. He averaged 19 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals per game this past winter.
A highly regarded prospect in his own right, Love said seeing Krzyzewski face to face raised the stakes in his mind.
“Yesterday was a wakeup,” Love said. “It feels different. It's a bigger stage. I just have to perform, keep working and not get bigheaded.”
Neither Love nor Fletcher received a scholarship offer from Duke.
Krzyzewski explained to Love he prefers to take his time, get to know a player, their family and see how things go.
“We just had a conversation,” Love said. “The offer will come when we build a relationship.”
Duke doesn't set its sights on more than a handful of players each year, a point Krzyzewski made to Love. That Fletcher and Love are on Duke's watch list speaks volumes. The last area player to draw an audience with Krzyzewski was Edwardsville point guard Mark Smith in the spring of 2017.
The timing of the visit couldn't be better for both Love and Fletcher. They are teammates on the U17 Bradley Beal Elite team that competes in the Elite Youth Basketball League, which is regarded as one of the top amateur club basketball leagues in the country. The EYBL opens its spring season Friday night in Atlanta. With Duke sniffing around, Love and Fletcher should see their recruiting stock rise.
The Bradley Beal Elite's first game is against the Kansas City based MOKAN Elite, which features Chaminade's Luke Kasubke and Mehlville's Dylan Branson and Davion Bradford.
Love expects to have a busy summer. He spent April 4-7 in Minneapolis at the Team USA training camp.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I learned a lot and I played well.”
He did so well enough that he was invited to try out for the FIBA U19 World Championship team in June. Should he make the final cut, he would try to help Team USA defend its world title June 29-July 7 in Greece. Should the Bradley Beal Elite have a successful spring season, Love would follow his Team USA tenure with an appearance at the EYBL championship tournament, the Peach Jam, from July 10-14.
All of this comes after Love helped CBC to a Class 5 runner-up finish. The Cadets were unsuccessful in their chase of the program's seventh state championship. Love said he took his disappointment and funneled it into his offseason workouts and preparation.
“It was fuel to the fire,” he said. “I got back in the gym.”