This week’s Duke basketball recruiting roundup features a couple profiles on two of the primary 2017 targets for the Blue Devils, as well as a few other nuggets.
Duke is still in play for one of the top centers in the class of 2016, but it could be a while before we hear his final decision and the staff appears to be creating a backup plan.
Let’s get to the biggest stories from the past week.
This is a great profile by Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Wendell Carter Jr – a 5-star power forward and the No. 2 overall player in the 2017 class. Bradley compares Carter’s skillset and growth to that of Anthony Davis, who was dominant in his one season at Kentucky before quickly becoming a superstar in the NBA. As the article mentions, Duke is the only school Carter has officially visited and the Blue Devils are rumored to be the leader in his recruitment.
In another profile of an elite 2017 prospect, Bob Putnam of the Tampa Bay Times writes about Kevin Knox, a 6’8”, 200-pound small forward. Already a Top 10 prospect in the class of 2017, Knox’s stock continues to rise as he dominates with his Tampa Catholic High School team. Duke coaches recently stopped by to watch Knox in action following the team’s game at Miami, and he’s also being recruited heavily by North Carolina and Florida State. According to the article, Knox is averaging 29.4 points,11 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game this season, and if he continues to improve, he could go down as one of the best high school players in the history of the Tampa area.
Bruno Fernando is a name that’s been thrown around more frequently over the past few weeks in Duke recruiting circles. Fernando is a 6’10”, 225-pound 4-star center from Montverde Academy by way of Angola. This recent article by Brian Flinn of Sporting News looks at how Duke has become more interested in Fernando over the past few weeks and that he could become one of the more intriguing prospects in the country as the recruiting cycle plays out.
While there may be interest in Bruno Fernando, there’s no question Duke is hoping to land a commitment from Marques Bolden – the top ranked center in the 2016 class. Courtside Films posted a new mixtape of Bolden this week, who also announced he’d trimmed his list of finalists to four. Duke is still in the running, as well as Kentucky, Oklahoma, and TCU. Many recruiting experts believe this will come down to another elite battle between Duke and Kentucky.
In an article I published earlier this week, I looked at how the coaching staff is still looking to add to the 2016 recruiting class with a big man. However, it can often be a delicate balance the coaching staff has to deal with in terms of filling needs in a particular year while not scaring off future targets who have a chance to make a greater impact. Duke could find itself in an interesting situation over the next couple months with frontcourt recruiting as there’s a need for a post player in the 2016 class, but the 2017 class has two potential superstar big men in Wendell Carter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba. It’s all about finding the right pieces for the puzzle.