5-star Duke men's basketball commit Mackenzie Mgbako to reopen his recruitment

The Blue Devils are losing the top-ranked player in their incoming class.

Five-star Class of 2023 prospect Mackenzie Mgbako at Countdown to Craziness in October 2022.
Five-star Class of 2023 prospect Mackenzie Mgbako at Countdown to Craziness in October 2022.

On an already eventful morning for the Blue Devils, matters just got more complicated.

Five-star Duke commit Mackenzie Mgbako, the No. 7 player in the 2023 class and the top incoming player in the Blue Devils' second-ranked recruiting class, has requested a release from his National Letter of Intent and will reopen his recruitment. 

Mgbako made the announcement via social media Tuesday morning shortly after reigning ACC Rookie of the Year Kyle Filipowski announced his intention to return for a sophomore season.

"While I have great appreciation and respect for the Duke coaching staff and fans for their interest in me," Mgbako said in his announcement, "I feel that there will be other places for me to continue my basketball journey, so I will be re-opening the recruiting process to all schools."

Mgbako initially committed to the Blue Devils in April 2022, just five days after the team fell in the Final Four to North Carolina. At that time the No. 3 prospect in his class, Mgbako chose first-year head coach Jon Scheyer and Duke over Kentucky, Memphis and Ohio State.

"I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Mackenzie and his family for quite some time," Scheyer said in a statement Tuesday. "He is an incredibly talented individual who possesses all the qualities you’d want on your team. While it’s difficult knowing I won’t have the opportunity to coach Mackenzie, I know he has a bright future and I’m confident that any program will be fortunate to have him."

News of Mgbako's departure coincides with Filipowski's return announcement Tuesday morning. Three five-star freshmen — Filipowski, Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell — are set to return to Duke, while four other top-30 recruits comprise the Blue Devils' incoming class. 

While the Blue Devils still boast a talented frontcourt and now have an open scholarship at their disposal, the loss of Mgbako is a big one. The 6-foot-8 Gladstone, N.J., product projected as a talented scorer and has impressed in the spring at both the McDonald's All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit. He will immediately become the most sought-after player available in the Class of 2023.  

Without Mgbako, five-star power forward Sean Stewart, the No. 12 player in the Class of 2023, becomes the top incoming Blue Devil. He is joined by four-star recruits Caleb Foster (No. 19), Jared McCain (No. 26) and TJ Power (No. 27).

This article was updated Tuesday afternoon to include Scheyer's statement.

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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