Duke Basketball: Don’t rule out Blue Devils in race for Matthew Hurt

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

While announcements from 2019 recruits haven’t yet provided any pretty sights for the Duke basketball program, fans who have chosen patience over panic may prove to be the wisest.

Duke basketball target Matthew Hurt doesn’t do lists. No cuts. Just one final decision.

That being said, the 6-foot-9, 215-pound power forward from Rochester, Minn., doesn’t mind taking his time. Actually, that’s only true in terms of his choosing where he will play college — he has offers from 19 schools, hasn’t scheduled any official visits, and doesn’t intend to make a commitment until the spring.

In terms of his actual play, though, Hurt never wastes a second.

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Before he catches the ball, it seems as if he already knows what he is going to do with it. In other words, he would be a perfect fit for the motion offense that Mike Krzyzewski has been teaching in Durham for the past 38 years.

Sometimes, his instant decision is to dart to the basket for a dunk or layup. Other times, it is to make a touch pass to a cutting teammate. But the most beautiful part of his game may be his quick release from downtown; he has a standing jumper, similar to that of former Duke forward Ryan Kelly, that only takes a flick of the wrist to launch and often ends up flicking the bottom of the net on its way down.

But back to the drawn-out decision that lies ahead for the player who lands at No. 6 overall and No. 2 at his position on the 247Sports Composite for the 2019 class. According to Eric Bossi of Rivals.com, Hurt indicated that he won’t make any lists but doesn’t mind sharing which seven schools stand out for pursuing him the hardest.

"“There’s about seven schools right now that are primarily the ones who are contacting me a lot,” Hurt said. “I probably won’t cut any schools, but it’s really those seven or eight. Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Minnesota, and North Carolina.”"

Notice the first school that came out of his mouth? That may not mean much, but it’s certainly not a bad sign (it could just mean, however, that Hurt’s mind naturally lists things alphabetically; yet if that is the case, it suggests he would fit in well on the brainy Duke campus).

Although 83 percent of the experts at 247Sports’ Crystal Ball currently predict he will end up at Kansas, and eight percent think he will stay close to home by picking Minnesota, the remaining experts tag their thoughts on the matter as “foggy.” Hurt will likely keep experts confused for months to come by keeping his thoughts on where he sees himself ending up close to his chest.

From now until spring, the only hints Hurt is likely to provide will come in the form of where he decides to take his official visits.

Speaking of visits, Coach K visited him and his family in their home on Sept. 9. And while nobody knows exactly how that visit went other than those present in the household at the time, it evidently went well enough to keep the Blue Devils on Hurt’s mind when mentioning schools, as evidenced by his quote above.

So although the recruitment of Hurt may take a while, the limited available evidence suggests the Blue Devils still stand a chance.

But while Hurt takes his time, other Duke targets in his class are much closer to announcing a decision. The Blue Devils are the unanimous pick by the Crystal Ball experts to hear good news from five-star forward Wendell Moore during his scheduled announcement on Monday. And five-star center Vernon Carey Jr. recently suggested that he plans to make his announcement by mid-November (the Crystal Ball also has Duke as the leader in that race).

So while five former targets have already rejected the Blue Devils with no 2019 prospect yet to commit — causing a near state of hysteria among Duke basketball fans — brighter days may be in both the near and distant future.

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