With the early signing period for college basketball set to begin in a couple weeks for the Class of 2019, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils will be pushing hard to secure another commitment in the 2019 class before the season starts rolling. Duke recently missed out on No. 2 overall guard Cole Anthony, who excluded the program from his list of six schools on Monday, and New York’s all time leading scorer, Joe Girard, who picked Syracuse over the Blue Devils and others. So, who could join No. 18 Wendell Moore in Durham next year? Let’s take a look at what’s going on with Duke’s top remaining targets:
Vernon Carey Jr. (C, No. 3)
The Blue Devil’s highest-rated target, Carey is a powerful big man that plays very similar to former national champ Jahlil Okafor. The Florida native was in attendance for Countdown to Craziness this year and seemed to love the atmosphere in Cameron. Carey has reportedly moved up his decision date to late November and will meet with Duke assistant Nate James on Tuesday in the midst of his official visit period.
The 6-foot-10 big man is known for playing bully ball in the paint, but also flashes a wide array of post moves and a solid mid-range jumper. Carey doesn’t have great athleticism but knows how to use his size for rebounding and interior defense.
The Blue Devils currently hold a 53 percent advantage in 247Sports’ crystal ball projection for the University School product, and Carey would be the perfect go-to option for Duke in 2019-20 if he commits in November.
Isaiah Stewart, (C, No. 4)
The coaching staff’s current hopes seem to revolve around bringing in Carey and fellow center Stewart to form a big man duo similar to Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. last year. Stewart, from Rochester, N.Y., will reportedly take his official visit to Durham this weekend. The 6-foot-9, 245-pounder hasn’t given much information about his recruitment, but 247Sports projects a battle between the Blue Devils and Michigan State.
Stewart is seen as a dominant athlete who uses his leaping ability and size to be a great rebounder and defensive terror. He hasn’t yet developed his offensive game, but wouldn’t be forced to be a volume scorer if Carey plays inside and Duke spaces the floor with shooters. The five-star center hasn’t set any tentative decision date yet, and seems to be waiting to complete his official visits before the process begins to near a conclusion.
Matthew Hurt (PF, No. 6)
Perhaps the Duke’s most mysterious target, Hurt has kept his recruitment mostly private recently. The Minnesota native visited Duke for Countdown to Craziness last year and recently had an in-home visit with Krzyzewski in September, but hasn’t scheduled any official visits yet. Hurt likely plans to take those official visits during the season and will almost definitely make a decision in the spring.
The 6-foot-8 stretch forward would be a perfect addition in Durham next year, with his plus shooting ability to keep defenders out of the paint and push the ball in transition. The Team USA 18U squad member averaged almost 34 points and 15 rebounds per game in high school last year.
Duke is one of seven or eight schools still in contention for Hurt and it should be a while for him to make his decision.
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Rejean “Boogie” Ellis (SG, No. 40)
If Duke fans are looking for their next commit, then look no further than Ellis, who recently announced he would release his list of top five schools on Tuesday night. 247Sports insider Evan Daniels also reported that the San Diego native has set a tentative decision date for Nov. 9th.
Ellis took his official visit to Duke this past weekend and sat with the Cameron Crazies during Duke’s 132-48 exhibition win over Ferris State.
Ellis is a combo guard with great athleticism and would play many roles in the Blue Devil back court. His jump shot is still a work in progress, but he can score and facilitate the ball with ease. Coach K is undoubtedly pursuing the 6-foot-2 guard relentlessly in case current point guard Tre Jones decides to head to the NBA this year.