Duke Basketball: Five-star 2019 SF Wendell Moore commits to Blue Devils

Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Wendell Moore provided Duke basketball fans a reason to take a collective sigh of relief on Monday evening by becoming the first 2019 recruit to verbally commit to the Blue Devils.

The wait is over. And so is any justifiable reason to panic — cause for concern stemmed from the fact that never before in the past decade had October arrived with the Duke basketball coaches still waiting for their first commitment from a recruit for the next year’s class.

But the news on Monday evening from five-star 2019 small forward Wendell Moore has instantly squelched the pessimistic talks about what hasn’t happened. Instead, it’s now time to focus on what has happened.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound native of Concord, N.C., said during his announcement ceremony at his Cox Mill High School that he will be attending Duke University in the fall of 2019. The other three finalists for his services were UNC, N.C. State, and Wake Forest. He held thirteen scholarship offers but cut his list to four schools at the end of August.

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Moore, a lifelong fan of the Blue Devils, ranks No. 23 overall in the class and No. 6 at his position on the 247Sports Composite. The two-time state champion’s array of talents and 6-foot-11 wingspan translate into his ability to play multiple positions on the court.

Due to his being a skilled defender, an adept ballhandler, and a notably confident leader, Moore has drawn comparisons to former Duke basketball player Chris Carrawell (the Blue Devils assistant coach tasked with leading his recruitment and whose son, Caleb Stone-Carrawell, is Moore’s teammate at Cox Mill).

Although Moore is not the highest-rated prospect that the coaches hope to snag from the 2019 class, the most encouraging takeaway from the humble teenager’s commitment may be that he is likely gifted enough to contribute as a freshman but likely not quite gifted enough to bolt for the NBA after just one season in college (Duke has had 14 one-and-done players this decade with likely three or four more to come after the conclusion of the upcoming season).

Moore marks the 24th five-star recruit to commit to the Blue Devils this decade. However, before Moore’s announcement, five five-star recruits from the 2019 class who held offers from Duke had either committed to another school or dropped the Blue Devils from their list.

Now that head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff finally have one five-star 2019 recruit in the bank, though, they will be trying to convince several more to follow in his footsteps.

Offers from Duke remain on the table for four other five-stars: Vernon Carey Jr. (ranked No. 2 on the 247Sports Composite), Cole Anthony (No. 3), Isaiah Stewart (No. 5), and Matthew Hurt (No. 6). According to the Crystal Ball at 247Sports, the Blue Devils are slight favorites to land Carey Jr. and Stewart but have ground to make up in the races for Anthony (UNC is the favorite) and Hurt (Kansas is the favorite).

The coaches are also still waiting to hear answers from their offers to four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis and three-star combo guard Joseph Girard. Depending on how the current outstanding offers pan out, more offers could soon be on the way.

But what will happen next is anybody’s guess; at the moment, though, fans should be optimistic that the commitment from Moore will serve as a spark for a 2019 recruiting effort that was starving for some good news prior to Monday.

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