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Duke Basketball Recruiting: Top Targets for the 2019 Class

Vernon Carey
© Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

We’re entering the busiest time of year for college basketball recruiting, which means you can expect the Duke coaches to be busy on the recruiting trail over the next few weeks.

Many of the top prospects in the country, as well as basically all the top college coaches, will be in North Augusta, SC., this week at the EYBL Nike Peach Jam. This has become one of the premier AAU showcase events in the nation and unofficially kicks off a string of major tournaments during the summer months.

Duke will look to continue its success of putting together the top recruiting class in college basketball, and the Blue Devils have their eyes on many of the best prospects in 2019.

Though the program has yet to secure any commitments for next year’s recruiting class, here are the names to keep in mind that appear to be the top priorities on Duke’s radar.

Wendell Moore – SF, 6’5”, 210 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 4 Small Forward, No. 17 Overall
Named the state Boys Player of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association in North Carolina, Moore is one of the best scorers in the class of 2019 and a top target for all the ACC schools in North Carolina. He averaged over 25 points per game as a junior and helped lead his team to a state championship, and he’s continued that success on the AAU circuit this summer, earning All EYBL First Team honors while averaging over 17 points per game and shooting over 50% from the field. Duke hopes Moore is the latest in a collection of talented, playmaking wings who have elected to play for Mike Krzyzewski over the past few years.

Bryan Antoine – SG, 6’5”, 175 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 1 Shooting Guard, No. 6 Overall
The Blue Devils are viewed as the heavy favorite for Bryan Antoine, the top ranked shooting guard in the class of 2019. He’s been a top priority for Coach K and his staff over the past few months, and Duke loves his versatility of his potential to play either guard position. Antoine is also comfortable playing alongside other top talent as he’s teammates at the Ranney School with Scottie Lewis, another Top 10 prospect in the class of 2019.

Isaiah Stewart – C, 6’9”, 245 lbs.
247 Sports Composite: No. 2 Center, No. 7 Overall
Between the center and power forward positions, Duke has shown interest in lots of big men in the class of 2019, and Isaiah Stewart appears to be a player who has emerged as a favorite for the coaching staff. He’s a bruising, physical presence with a large frame at 6’9”, 245 pounds that could help fill an immediate need for a roster that projects to be relatively thin in the frontcourt as Duke enters the 2019-20 season.

Josiah James – PG, 6’6”, 195 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 1 Point Guard, No. 12 Overall
Josiah James announced his nine finalists over the weekend and Duke made the list along with Arizona, Michigan State, Kansas, Virginia, and a handful of others. He’s also considering Clemson and South Carolina, the hometown schools for the Charleston native. Perhaps James will follow in the steps of Zion Williamson and opt for Duke over the in-state choices. With tremendous size and wingspan, James is highly regarded for his versatility and high basketball IQ.

Matthew Hurt – PF, 6’9”, 200 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 2 Power Forward, No. 4 Overall
Kansas is regarded as the heavy favorite for 5-star forward Matthew Hurt, but it isn’t stopping the Blue Devils from trying to get him to Durham. Duke is pitching Hurt on the idea of being able to step in as a stretch-four who can take advantage of pick-and-pop situations and utilize his shooting range on the perimeter.

Cole Anthony – PG, 6’2”, 175 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 1 Combo Guard, No. 3 Overall
Everything about the recruitment of Cole Anthony will be high profile, which isn’t surprising for a Top 5 prospect from New York City who is also the son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony. He has offers from many of college basketball’s biggest programs, including Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Villanova. Anthony has said he’ll likely wait until late in the recruiting process before making his final decision, meaning Duke could be in an interesting position depending on whether Tre Jones returns for his sophomore season. The program also appears to be keeping its point guard options open in pursuing both Anthony and Josiah James.

Vernon Carey – PF, 6’10”, 275 lbs.
247Sports Composite: No. 1 Power Forward, No. 2 Overall
If Duke fans are looking for an example of where the loss of Jeff Capel could hurt the Blue Devils on the recruiting trail, this may be the one. Prior to his departure to become the head coach at Pitt, Capel was the lead coach in the recruitment of Vernon Carey, one of the top players in the 2019 class. Duke is certainly still in the running for Carey, but it’s natural that dynamics change when the assistant coach who’s recruiting you leaves for another school. Still, Duke will move forward in showing Carey that his impressive collection of skills would be a great fit in Durham for what would likely be his lone season in college.

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