Duke head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has proven that he does not need former assistant Jeff Capel to secure a top recruiting class, grabbing Vernon Carey Jr., Wendell Moore, and Boogie Ellis to replace Duke’s current stars after this year. The Blue Devils are still in the mix for some high level recruits, and the Blue Zone takes a look at recent news surrounding those five stars:
Isaiah Stewart, (No. 5, C)
Experts have surmised that Stewart was on the brink of a decision all the way back in November, but the 6-foot-9 center has taken his time and now set his official decision date for Sunday night on ESPN.
It was originally reported that the battle for Stewart would come down to Duke and Michigan State, but Washington has recently snuck into the conversation, with many believing the Huskies are the favorite. Syracuse and Kentucky round out his top five, but are considered long shots to land the five star.
The Rochester, N.Y., native is an athletic, defensive minded player, who plays mostly inside. Stewart would pair nicely with Carey’s fluid game and ability to play everywhere on the court, and would give the Blue Devils unbelievable depth in the front court with Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, and Jack White all set to return for their senior seasons.
Matthew Hurt, (No. 7, PF)
Always considered the prospect to have one of the lengthiest recruitments, Hurt will make his official visit to Durham on Saturday to take in Duke’s highly anticipated matchup vs. Virginia. The sharp shooting big has already made visits to North Carolina and Kentucky, and currently has one scheduled with Kansas in early February.
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A commitment from Stewart would almost definitely remove the Blue Devils from Hurt’s list, and the John Marshall High School product has long been thought to prefer the Jayhawks or to stay home and go to Minnesota. Nevertheless, Duke fans will likely have to wait until the regular signing period in mid April to see where the five star Hurt decides to play college basketball.
R.J. Hampton, (No. 6 in 2020, PG)
It may be a surprise to see a current high school junior on this list, but Hampton to Durham could be more of a need than a want for the Blue Devils after recent developments. For starters, the emergence of Tre Jones as a potential two-way force has propelled the freshman to the first round of most NBA mock drafts, and the scare with his shoulder sprain may be a warning to take the money and turn pro instead of risking injury. After missing out on Cole Anthony, this recruiting class could be Mike Krzyzewski’s first without grabbing one of the top point guard prospects since 2013.
Duke has already signed the combo guard Ellis, but the four-star recruit has yet to master his abilities as a natural floor general and is known more as a scorer. As of now, there haven’t been any reports of Hampton considering the idea of reclassifying and committing to Duke. It’s likely that Krzyzewski would turn to the Texas native in that scenario, similar to 2015, when Derryck Thornton decided to come to Duke a year early and run their offense.
Hampton is set to turn 18 in February, so he is technically old for the 2020 class, and could want to rejoin his age group, something Duke fans have seen recently with R.J. Barrett. Hampton has long been considered a Blue Devil lean and may be playing in Cameron as soon as next year, but until the declaration date for the NBA draft in April, don’t expect much news on a possible reclassification.