Duke Basketball: R.J. Hampton lists final five, may reclassify to 2019

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program is now one step closer to landing another five-star guard, and this one could become a college star sooner than once expected.

R.J. Hampton, a five-star 2020 combo guard with all the tools to play the point, waited until his 18th birthday on Thursday to tweet the list of five schools that still have a shot to snag his services. And the list is pleasing to the eyes of Duke basketball fans.

Along with Duke, Hampton’s final five includes Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, and TCU. Note: Duke appears first on the video announcement.

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Currently, with 62 percent of the experts’ picks, the 247Sports Crystal Ball shows Duke as the leader in the race for the 6-foot-4, 170-pound native of Little Elm, Texas, who ranks No. 6 on the 247Sports Composite for the 2020 class.

Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski made Hampton a priority early by offering him a scholarship in July 2018, his first offer to a 2020 recruit. Now, Coach K is likely hoping that Hampton ends up in the 2019 class — especially if Duke’s current freshman point guard, Tre Jones, leaves for the NBA after this season.

Hampton’s father has said that his son is taking the necessary classes to be in a position to reclassify; considering he is the age of a typical high school senior and has now trimmed his list — an indication his final decision may be close — there is a strong likelihood he will do exactly that.

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Not only could Hampton end up as the point guard the Blue Devils will desperately need if Jones departs, but his supreme athleticism and lethal scoring — he dropped 50 points in his last outing — would provide a needed boost to the overall star power of the 2019-20 roster.

While it will be impossible to fully replace the talent that is likely to leave Durham after this season — in addition to Jones, freshmen Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish are almost certainly going to be professionals next season — the addition of Hampton would help.

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Hampton has not taken an official visit to Duke but has been on campus before — he attended Countdown to Craziness in 2017. He took official visits to Kentucky, Memphis, and Kansas last fall.

As it stands, the Blue Devils’ 2019 class ranks sixth nationally, per 247Sports, and includes three commits: five-star center Vernon Carey Jr. (ranks No. 3 on the composite), five-star small forward Wendell Moore (ranks No. 22), and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis (ranks No. 34). The only remaining offer on the table is to five-star power forward Matthew Hurt (ranks No. 8), who is not expected to announce his college choice until April.

As for the 2020 class, if that is where Hampton remains, Duke has yet to receive its first commitment.

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