Duke Basketball: Blue-blood battle begins for 2021 PF Nathan Bittle

Duke basketball, Cameron Crazies (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball, Cameron Crazies (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The buzz about a five-star 2021 big man from Oregon has reached the East Coast, notably the Duke basketball program and Kentucky.

The recruiting eyeballs that God handed out to Kentucky’s John Calipari at his birth must have been near duplicates to the ones he gave Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski 12 years prior.

As we’ve all seen in recent years, when it comes to a list of coaches who are interested in a particular top-notch recruit, where you see one’s name, you almost always see the other.

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And for those who prefer astrological comparisons, each of the blue-blood head honchos is an Aquarius. That means, at least according to TheHoroscope.co, that both Krzyzewski and Calipari “are progressive and have high expectations” and they “don’t sit around and wait for things to happen.”

In terms of their approach to recruiting, that sounds about right.

Most recent example: A five-star 2021 center out West is beginning to draw heightened attention from the coaches of the Blue Devils and Wildcats back East.

His name is Nathan Bittle.

As reported via a tweet by Stock Risers’ Jake Weingarten on Thursday, the Duke and Kentucky staffs “now have interest” in the Central Point, Ore., native and intend to be in attendance to see him play at some point this season.

What they will see is that Bittle’s frame looks a bit brittle.

However, the overall game of the 6-foot-10, 175-pounder  — no, his weight is not a typo — suggests he will be ready to do battle at the college level when his time comes (being just a sophomore in high school, time is still on his side).

His strongest weapons appear to be his smooth release from downtown and ability to slither his way to the rim by using to his advantage an estimated 7-foot-3 wingspan that is likely still growing. Take a look:

Bittle ranks No. 17 overall in his class on the 247Sports Composite. He is the No. 1 player in his state and No. 6 player at his position — listed as a power forward.

To date, the 15-year-old has offers from eight schools — other than Tulane, they are all from the West Coast. The 247Sports Crystal Ball — way too early for it to mean much — favors Oregon.

Related Story. Coach K set to see 2020 SF Jalen Johnson. light

In summary, Duke fans, it’s worth keeping an eye out for Bittle’s growth — the growth of his game, the growth and filling out of his frame, as well the growth of his interest in the Blue Devils and the Blue Devils’ interest in him.

The only 2021 recruit that Coach K and his staff have extended an offer to as of yet is the No. 1 player on the composite rankings, small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., who is potentially a once-in-a-generation talent — that’s only possible, of course, if he is considered to be from a different generation than current Duke freshman Zion Williamson.

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