Duke Basketball: Blue Devil commits in group chat with Isaiah Stewart

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

If Vernon Carey Jr., Wendell Moore, and Boogie Ellis have their way, the Duke basketball program’s 2019 recruiting class will include Isaiah Stewart.

Duke basketball freshman Tre Jones started a group chat last year as a high school senior to help persuade other prospects to make the right choice by joining #TheBrotherhood.

The result?

Cam Reddish. R.J. Barrett. Zion Williamson. Joey Baker.

A success?

The definition of it.

That group became the greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball, both on paper and, so far, on the court.

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The Blue Devils’ 2019 class can’t match that, but it can become what would be the greatest class ever for almost any other program. And the current commits have taken a page out of Jones’ Guide to Recruiting as a Recruit by adding a five-star undecided center to their group chat.

After scoring 35 points in a holiday tournament on Tuesday night, Vernon Carey Jr., a five-star center ranked No. 2 on the 247Sports Composite who committed to Duke earlier this month, told Rivals’ Krysten Peek that he and the Blue Devils’ other two landed recruits — five-star forward Wendell Moore (ranked No. 24) and four-star guard Boogie Ellis (ranked No. 36) — are in a group chat that now includes Isaiah Stewart (ranked No. 6).

"“We’re trying to get Isaiah,” Carey Jr., a 6-foot-10, 275-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said to Peek. “Right now, I feel like it’s a 50/50 [between Duke and Michigan State].”"

Despite his playing the same position as Stewart, Carey Jr., as he has indicated in the past, said he “for sure” welcomes the idea of playing alongside him in Durham.

And, like the inside duo of Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. for the Blue Devils a year ago, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Stewart and Carey Jr. have different strengths from one another.

Carey Jr. is a beefy presence with a full repertoire of polished moves on offense, including from the perimeter and in transition.

ALSO READ: Carey Jr. puts on show at a holiday tournament

Stewart, although a more-than-capable scorer, is more known for using his 7-foot-5 wingspan to control the paint on defense. Here’s a long look, courtesy of New Recruit Media, at how the Rochester, N.Y., native (he currently plays for La Lumiere School in Indiana) handled himself on and off the court during his time with Team USA a couple months ago:

Stewart has taken official visits to Michigan State, Kentucky, Washington, Syracuse, and Duke (his last, which came the last weekend of November). The 247Sports Crystal Ball currently gives a slight edge to the Spartans.

However, the Blue Devils’ three commits don’t plan on stopping with their push, via group chat, to sway Stewart to Duke. As for the content of their messages, Carey Jr. told Peek it’s about as straightforward as could be.

"“Just join The Brotherhood,” Carey Jr. said. “That’s the only tip I have [for him].”"

Stewart has not been decisive about a time frame for making his college choice. It could be as soon as any day now or as late as the spring.

In addition to Stewart, the Duke coaches have an offer on the table to five-star forward Matthew Hurt, who is ranked No. 7. Hurt will be on his official visit to Duke the weekend of Jan. 19 and doesn’t plan on announcing his final decision until the spring.

Duke’s 2019 class currently ranks No. 6 in the country, according to 247Sports.

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