Duke Basketball: Boogie Ellis commits to Blue Devils, helps 2019-20 depth

Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke Basketball
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program picked up its second commitment from a class of 2019 recruit with the announcement from four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis on Friday night, but more are needed to replace the expected departures of the current roster’s slew of NBA-ready talents.

Potential playing time was likely a factor. Same goes for the opportunity to better his game under the tutelage of Mike Krzyzewski and his staff. And the Duke basketball team’s 118-84 season-debut blowout over Kentucky on Tuesday night probably added the icing on the cake.

Whatever the overriding reason that led to Boogie Ellis choosing to pursue his collegiate endeavors at Duke — he made the announcement on Friday night from his Mission Bay High School in San Diego — his decision alleviates some of the concern surrounding a 2019-20 roster in Durham that is sure to be without at least three (likely four and possibly five) of the program’s current starters.

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound four-star combo guard joins a 2019 recruiting class that was becoming lonely for five-star small forward Wendell Moore, a North Carolina native who announced his commitment in October.

Ellis ranks No. 35 overall, No. 7 at his position, and No. 4 in California according to the 247Sports Composite (Moore ranks No. 23 overall).  As stated previously here at Ball Durham, in terms of former Blue Devils, the game of Ellis seems to most closely resemble that of Nolan Smith; his mid-range shot, willingness to use his more-than-ideal athleticism and wingspan to create havoc when playing defense, and assertive moves to get open — with or without the ball — appear to be his greatest strengths.

The other schools on the list of his final five were UNC, USC, Memphis, and San Diego State. Duke, the last school to extend him an offer (Sept. 18), hosted Ellis for his official visit the last weekend of October (he attended the Blue Devils’ 132-48 thumping of Ferris State in their final exhibition game).

As was the case with Moore, Chris Carrawell led the recruitment of Ellis, according to 247Sports. His verbal commitment (the fall signing period is from Nov. 14-21) further suggests that Carrawell, a former Duke basketball forward and the newest addition to the coaching staff in Durham, is succeeding in helping to replace the renowned recruiting skills of former assistant Jeff Capel, who took the head coaching job at Pitt back in the spring.

However, while Ellis is a nice addition and certainly has the talent to contribute the moment he steps on campus, Coach K and Co. still have plenty of work to do on the recruiting trail in order to make up for the near-certain departures of freshmen sensations Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish — wouldn’t be a shock if those are the first three names called to the stage at the 2019 NBA Draft.

Also, freshman starting point guard Tre Jones is a candidate to join the one-and-done club, and if junior starting center Marques Bolden continues to play the way he did against Kentucky, he too could be NBA-bound at the end of this season. The Blue Devils will also lose the services of graduating senior big man Antonio Vrankovic.

What does this mean for playing time for Ellis? Click “NEXT” to find out that answer and to check out highlights of his game…