The Duke basketball coaches have been busy on the recruiting trail over the past week, attending various summer events and building relationships with top targets in the classes of 2019 and 2020.
There has been a lot of news related to players Duke is focusing on over the past few week, so here are some of the top headlines.
5-Star PG Nico Mannion Reclassifies to 2019
It had been rumored for a while, but 5-star point guard Nico Mannion made it official this week with the announcement that he’d be reclassifying from the class of 2020 up to 2019. The 6’3, 180-pound guard from Phoenix, AZ, is an explosive guard who looks to get to the rim at any opportunity. His recruitment is viewed as a two-horse race between Duke and Arizona, but it’ll be interesting to see how this fits into the point guard recruiting plans for the Blue Devils. Duke is also pursuing Cole Anthony and Josiah James, two other 5-star point guards in the class of 2019.
A Busy Peach Jam for Duke Coaches
In his recap from last week’s Nike EYBL Peach Jam event, ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has lots of information about conversations Duke coaches are having with their top targets and a few other players the program seems to be evaluating. There are some quotes from 2019 big man Isaiah Stewart on how Coach K thinks he’s a “Duke kid” and Jaden McDaniels on how special it is to receive interest from Duke. The Blue Devils are also showing interest in a collection of versatile forwards for the 2019 class, including E.J. Liddell, Drew Timme, and Jaden Delaire.
Vernon Carey Impresses at Peach Jam
Though James Wiseman is the player atop most recruiting rankings, Vernon Carey is the best player in the class of 2019, according to NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster. In part of his recap from Peach Jam, Dauster praised Carey’s athleticism and scoring ability, as well as his potential to dominate the glass when he stays engaged. Carey averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1.2 steals during the Peach Jam. Duke is one of many schools the 2019 5-star power forward is considering. Also of note for Blue Devil fans, Dauster singles out Drew Timme and says whichever school lands him is getting a potential steal in the class of 2019. Timme doesn’t hold an offer from Duke but the program is showing continued interest.
Will 2020 Guard R.J. Hampton Reclassify?
As the reclassification process becomes more common for top high school players, it becomes a new factor for programs looking to build recruiting classes and plan for the future. Nico Mannion made his reclassification announcement this past week, and 5-star combo guard R.J. Hampton is another class of 2020 prospect who could make the jump to 2019. Hampton and his father talk about the possibility in a recent interview with the Louisville Courier Journal and the factors that will go into their decision. The Blue Devils are very interested in Hampton, but if he reclassifies, then it will be a question of where he fits as a priority compared to other 2019 guards like Bryan Antoine and Cole Anthony.
E.J. Liddell on Duke’s Radar
E.J. Liddell is a 6’7”, 220-pound 4-star small forward who’s the No. 11 power forward in the class of 2019, according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball for Illinois, and his play in the Nike EYBL caught the attention of Duke’s coaches, who were seen checking out many of his games at Peach Jam last week. Liddell is one of a few 2019 forwards who could be seen as alternatives behind Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt, two Top 5 players in the class.
Jalen Johnson Gets Duke Offer
Jalen Johnson is one of the top players in the class of 2020 and one of Duke’s top targets in that class. According to a tweet from Johnson, he received an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils earlier this week. Johnson is a 6’8”, 215-pound forward from Wisconsin who’s the No. 2 small forward and No. 6 overall player in the 247Sports Composite. Not surprisingly, he’s also being heavily pursued by the in-state Badgers.
Thanks for checking out this week’s Duke basketball recruiting roundup. Check out @DukeReport on Twitter for more news and stories.