With Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish all declaring for the NBA draft, Duke needs to reload its wing lineup. Friday afternoon's announcement will go a long way towards filling those minutes with more star power.
Matthew Hurt announced his commitment to play for the Blue Devils at John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minn., opting for Duke in favor of his other three finalists, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina.
The 6-foot-9 forward is the second-ranked power forward in the Class of 2019, behind only Jaden McDaniels, who is projected to commit to Washington. Hurt will immediately address a glaring issue with last year’s Blue Devils: 3-point shooting ability. The Rochester, Minn., native is not a standout athlete, but is extremely skilled with the ball in his hands and can create his own shot with ease. Hurt’s height enables him to launch shots from anywhere on the court, and he is capable of knocking down NBA-range threes consistently.
Hurt dominated his high school competition, finishing his career there as the all-time leading scorer in Minnesota history racking up 3,819 points. His senior year, he averaged 37 points per game along with 12.3 rebounds. The forward spent his summer playing for D1 Minnesota and averaged 17.1 points on the Adidas Gauntlet against other elite competition.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has consistently targeted forwards with perimeter scoring ability, and Hurt fits right into that mold. He will likely slot into a similar role as the one occupied by former top recruits like Jabari Parker and Brandon Ingram as someone who is counted on to lead the offense.
Hurt has the potential to form a devastating inside-outside combo with fellow five-star recruit Vernon Carey Jr., and will solidify Duke’s wing rotation following the raft of departures, by immediately occupying a spot in the starting lineup.
In addition to Carey Jr., the Blue Devils have secured commitments from Wendell Moore Jr. and Boogie Ellis, and are still targeting Cassius Stanley to round out this year’s recruiting class. Stanley visited Durham this past weekend and would bring spectacular athleticism and stellar defense to help pair with returning point guard Tre Jones. The 6-foot-5 guard will announce his college decision Monday.