Duke Basketball: Lead expert now picks UK over Duke for Isaiah Stewart

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Surely one day soon there will be a positive story to report about the Duke basketball program’s recruiting efforts for its 2019 class; unfortunately, though, Sunday was not that kind of day.

Maybe the Duke basketball coaches have a secret plan to turn the tides when it comes to the recruiting battle for five-star 2019 center Isaiah Stewart. As it stands, though, the momentum in that battle appears to favor Kentucky.

See, when 247Sports national recruiting director Evan Daniels enters a pick for a 2019 recruit, it likely means he has a strong reason to believe his pick is correct. After all, Daniels has so far accurately predicted the landing spots for 45 out of 47 prospects (95.74 percent) from the 2019 class.

So that’s why it may be a bit bigger than no big deal that Daniels pegged Stewart as a future player for the Kentucky Wildcats with the pick he entered on Sunday. Now, only 46 percent of the experts at 247Sports’ Crystal Ball making a public prediction of where Stewart will end up still lean toward Duke.

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And that means, according to the Crystal Ball, there is now a tie when it comes to the battle for Stewart — 46 percent are going with Kentucky at this point, and the remaining eight percent are predicting he will choose Michigan State.

In August, 91 percent of the experts thought the 6-foot-9, 245-pound native of Rochester, N.Y., would become a Blue Devil; at that time, Kentucky did not even appear on Stewart’s final list of six schools that he was still considering.

Then after it was announced that Kentucky coach John Calipari had extended him an offer earlier this month and that he would be taking an official visit to Lexington for the weekend of Sept. 28, the percentage picking Duke started to drop.

As of last week, though, the Blue Devils still held the lead with 64 percent. But now that his visit to Kentucky has concluded and he has still not announced if he intends to take an official visit to Duke, that edge no longer exists.

While it is true that Stewart — not the Crystal Ball — will ultimately decide where he wants to play, the fact that he has not scheduled a visit to Durham, combined with what the Crystal Ball suggests, certainly makes it difficult (though not impossible) for Duke basketball fans to remain optimistic about Stewart playing for the home squad in Cameron Indoor Stadium during the 2019-20 season.

Stewart is listed as the No. 5 overall prospect and No. 3 center on the 247Sports Composite for the 2019 class. Duke associate head coach and former Blue Devils guard Jon Scheyer has been in charge of leading his recruitment.

The Blue Devils still have no commitments from a 2019 target.

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