Duke Basketball: Cassius Stanley commits as Coach K crushes peers

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The events in the weeks leading up to Cassius Stanley’s commitment on Monday point to Mike Krzyzewski’s ability to simply point at a recruit to convince him to become a Duke basketball player.

He came. He saw. He conquered. Despite entering this latest battle at the last minute, what would have been much too late for seemingly anyone else, Duke basketball recruiting god Mike Krzyzewski now has another notch in his belt.

Four-star 2019 shooting guard Cassius Stanley announced on Monday afternoon his decision to become the fifth piece to a Blue Devil recruiting class that, per 247Sports, was already ranked No. 1 (Coach K’s fourth consecutive envy-of-his-peers haul of high school seniors, also marking his fifth in six years).

Stanley picked up a Blue Devil offer just this month, just prior to his official visit to the Durham campus just one weekend ago. Considering the three other finalists for his services — Kansas, UCLA, and Oregon — had each extended offers to the high-flying Californian way back in 2017, no argument is necessary when answering which blue-blood program now owns nearly every inch of the recruiting trail.

Also, one would have a tough time finding anyone other than bitter fans of rival programs to now argue against the opinion that Duke came away with a steal of an underrated player, one who has long been a YouTube sensation.

Stanley, whose No. 29 ranking on the 247Sports Composite does not match his combined skills and athleticism, can leap tall buildings with a single bound while channeling his inner Speedy Gonzales when running the floor.

On defense, he excels at darting into passing lanes. On offense, his specialty is flying to the rim and finishing with exclamation points.

His handles are becoming elite. His vision and instincts already are elite. And although he once had a glaring weakness, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound 19-year-old has added a formidable outside jumper to his repertoire within the past year.

Like former Blue Devil stud Marvin Bagley III, Stanley will come to Duke from Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles.

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Also like Bagley, Stanley seems on course to find himself in the starting lineup — at some point, if not from the start — for Duke as a freshman (he has the potential to be, like Bagley and so many other Blue Devils this decade, a one-and-done college player).

In addition to Stanley, Duke’s 2019 class includes four more players ranking in the top 35 of the composite: five-star center Vernon Carey Jr., who ranks No. 3; five-star power forward Matthew Hurt, who ranks No. 8 and signed up to play for Krzyzewski just three days ago; five-star small forward Wendell Moore, who ranks No. 22; and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis, who ranks No. 34.

ALSO READ: Wendell Moore led the class from ghost town to boom town

With Stanley’s signature, Coach K — who has no further offers on the table to 2019 recruits — has likely wrapped up his recruiting for next season’s roster, which now has ample pieces to be in the discussion, and should be in the lead, for a No. 1 preseason ranking.

ALSO READ: Cassius Stanley would make Blue Devils preseason No. 1

So now all coaches still looking for pieces to fill out their 2019-20 rosters should be able to take a sigh of relief from knowing the 72-year-old GOAT recruiter likely won’t swoop in at the last second to steal another — unless, of course, he simply gets another itch to assert his recruiting dominance.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting updates, analyses, opinions, and predictions.