While the 2021-22 Duke men's basketball season is almost upon us, let's take a look at what lies beyond the horizon, as the Blue Zone breaks down next year's recruiting class and more:
Friday’s Countdown to Craziness signaled a grand opening to the 2021-22 season, the beginning of head coach Mike Krzyzewski's farewell tour and the reopening of Cameron Indoor Stadium to the Duke faithful. The new season may not be officially underway for another few weeks, but that just means we get to check in on how Duke is situated for the first season on the other side of this mountainous campaign.
Associate head coach Jon Scheyer, who has assisted with the Blue Devils’ nationwide recruiting effort since the class of 2015, was named Duke’s head coach-in-waiting following Krzyzewski’s announcement of his upcoming retirement after this season. With that comes a new face that top high school prospects are committing to for their development and future achievement. However, what originally seemed to be a daunting task for Scheyer and the program has transformed into a great success, as the first batch of recruits for his 2022 debut as head coach currently holds the No. 1 spot for best recruiting class in the nation. Let’s take a look at who is already on board and from whom the Blue Devils still await a decision.
Dereck Lively II (No. 2, C, 2022, committed)
The 2022 ESPN 100 No. 2 overall recruit's commitment was certainly one to watch for; Lively, Westtown School's 7-foot-1 star, announced his commitment to Duke Sept. 20, choosing the Blue Devils over Kentucky and others. Certainly a monstrous paint presence, the projected starter at the five can really shoot the ball and possesses absurd athleticism for his size. Lively and his 7-foot-8 wingspan mark the centerpiece of a top recruiting class that looks to fill in after the possible departures of both Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams.
Dariq Whitehead (No. 5, F, 2022, committed)
Before Lively announced his commitment, Duke had found another top recruit in Whitehead, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Newark, N.J., playing for Montverde Academy in Florida. He made his decision Aug. 1 between Duke, the in-state Florida State Seminoles and Kansas, adding an elite scoring threat to the Blue Devils' wing spot. An excellent defender, Whitehead is a first-round talent that will bring the rain to Durham a year from now.
Kyle Filipowski (No. 10, F, 2022, committed)
Filipowski was the first commit in this recruiting cycle, but he joined the Blue Devils as a highly underrated talent from Wilbraham, Mass. 247Sports ranked him as low as 58th nationally in April before scouts bumped him into their top-10 by September, with Rivals.com placing him as high as fifth. The 6-foot-11 big is one of the biggest up-and-coming stars moving into this season, and Duke fans should be excited to see what the dominant Filipowski can bring during his senior year of high school.
Caleb Foster (No. 13, G, 2023, committed)
Though he will not be walking onto Coach K Court until fall 2023, Foster’s commitment was surely an important one for Duke and Scheyer. As one of the earliest commitments of the cycle, Foster instantly brought a sense of hope for the future of the program and a strong sign of Scheyer’s ability to bring on top talent for years to come. Foster is a playmaker at point guard and a scorer at heart with a good knack for on-ball defense. The Oak Hill Academy star will have the Crazies thirsting for more the second he hits the floor, but they will have to wait a bit longer.
Mark Mitchell (No. 30, F, 2022, offered)
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Following the announcement that guard and former Duke target JJ Starling was headed to South Bend, Ind., to play for Mike Brey’s Notre Dame squad, Mitchell seems to be the last standing target left on Scheyer’s board. The 6-foot-8 forward from Shawnee Mission, Kan., visited Durham last weekend and soaked up the Countdown festivities from the student section along with Lively and Whitehead. A power forward, Mitchell would add onto Duke’s prolific inside combo smoothly as he could slide to the wing with Filipowski and Lively taking up minutes at the four and five, respectively.
Mitchell will likely be deciding between Duke, UCLA, Kansas and Missouri as the schools battle for the services of one of the top interior scorers and defenders in the class. His announcement date has yet to be decided, though, so keep an eye out for news on the Mitchell front.
Jaden Schutt (No. 47, G, 2022, committed)
Rounding out this update on Duke’s recruiting over the last three months is Schutt, who went as an under-the-radar commit to an already loaded roster. The Yorkville, Ill., native earned nods as the top recruit in the state and deservingly so. Schutt, pronounced “shoot”, lives up to his name, as, boy, can he shoot the ball. He has been regarded as one of, if not the best, shooters in the class and will do an excellent job at getting open for the bigs down low to kick it out for a nearly automatic 3-pointer. Schutt is the perfect final piece to the complex yet powerful puzzle that has become Duke’s 2022-23 lineup.