Duke Basketball: Blue Devils hope to host Isaiah Stewart next weekend

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Will five-star 2019 center Isaiah Stewart give the Duke basketball coaches reason to roll out the royal-blue carpet by using his last official visit to see what it’s like to be a Blue Devil?

All recruits can take five official visits during their senior year of high school, but they don’t have to take all of them. Duke basketball fans are crossing their fingers, though, that Isaiah Stewart, who has already taken four visits, uses his fifth.

If he does, they hope it is to Durham next weekend; according to Jake Weingarten of Stock Risers, that “could possibly” be in the works.

Back in August, Duke was the overwhelming favorite to land the five-star center from the 2019 class. At that time, 91 percent of the experts at the 247Sports Crystal Ball saw a future that included Stewart — ranked No. 5 overall and No. 3 at his position on the 247Sports Composite — suiting up next fall in a Blue Devils jersey.

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But much has changed in the past couple of months. To start, at the end of August, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound native of Rochester, N.Y., who currently plays for La Lumiere School in Indiana, cut his list to six schools: Duke, Michigan State, Villanova, Syracuse, Washington, and Indiana.

After that, Kentucky entered the race by extending Stewart an offer and hosting him for his second official visit at the end of September. His first visit was to Washington. He has taken visits to Syracuse and Michigan State over the past two weekends.

And likely in part due to the fact that he has not yet scheduled a visit to Duke, the Crystal Ball no longer favors the Blue Devils. Currently, 40 percent of the experts are picking Michigan State; 33 percent are still going with Duke.

Typically, when a recruit schedules all or most of his official visits before the month of November, he intends to make his final choice by the fall signing period (Nov. 14-21). That being said, Stewart — who has a similar frame and game to former Duke basketball standout Shelden Williams — is not necessarily going to do that.

“It could be early or I might wait,” Stewart said weeks ago, as reported by Evan Daniels of 247Sports. “It all depends on how I feel and where I’m at with things.”

If he is at Duke next weekend, he will be with four-star guard Boogie Ellis, who gave the coaches his RSVP two weeks ago and intends to make his final decision in November. However, if Stewart decides not to visit Durham at all, Duke basketball fans should be able to safely assume he won’t become a Blue Devil.

In addition to Stewart and Ellis, the Duke coaches are waiting on decisions from three other 2019 prospects: center Vernon Carey Jr. (ranked No. 2 on the 247Sports Composite; he was in attendance for Countdown Craziness on Friday), combo guard Cole Anthony (No. 3; he has not scheduled an official visit to Duke), and power forward Matthew Hurt (No. 6; he has not scheduled any official visits at all).

Five-star forward Wendell Moore (ranked No. 23) gave the Blue Devils their lone verbal commitment for the class at the beginning of October.

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