Duke Basketball: How Blue Devils may land 2020 SF Scottie Barnes

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

A few key moves and plenty of patience could result in a five-star — one who is potentially capable of playing all five positions — becoming a Duke basketball player.

The recruitment of Scottie Barnes will be a marathon race, possibly lasting until this time next year. All the Duke basketball coaches can do at this point to gain ground on the competition is take one step at a time and hope not to have to bow out early.

If they manage to stay in and win the race, then Barnes — who ranks No. 4 on the 247Sports Composite for the 2020 class due to the consistently energetic display of his all-around game — has the potential to anchor the Blue Devils’ 2020-21 roster.

The next step for Mike Krzyzewski and his staff to actualize such a future, though, is making sure to make the next cut of the five-star small forward by continuing to make him know they want him to be a Blue Devil (Barnes attends Fort Lauderdale’s University School, where he has been a teammate of 2019 Duke commit Vernon Carey Jr., thereby receiving several visits from the Duke staff last season).

According to a recent article from Rivals’ Corey Evans, Barnes is likely to trim his current list of eight schools — Duke, Kentucky, Miami, Oregon, Kansas, California, Ohio State, and Florida State — to an unspecified number by the end of summer.

However, he won’t likely decide on a college destination until next spring.

"“It’s probably going to be late,” Barnes said of his announcement in a interview this week with Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “I’m just trying to take my time with all of it. I’m not really worried about it now.”"

Speaking of time, Barnes has expressed his confidence in Coach K and Co. to keep him from having to spend more than a year in college before cashing in on his talents in the NBA.

"“Everyone knows what Duke brings to the table,” the 6-foot-8, 210-pounder, whose style shares similarities to that of former Blue Devil and current Duke assistant Chris Carrawell, told Evans. “I know if I were to go there, they would make me be a good one-and-done player.“I know they would prepare me there.”"

Barnes possesses ample strength, length, and grit to hold his own in the paint, along with ample handles and fluidity — and a work-in-progress outside shot — to be a threat from the perimeter.

And his defense is his forte — or maybe it’s his ferocious, yet comical, facial expressions:

One way the Blue Devil staff may help sway the multi-faceted Barnes to Durham is by garnering commitments from a few of his friends. Three of his noted buddies, who have been his teammates with Team USA, also hold Duke offers: small forward Jalen Johnson, who ranks No. 3 on the composite; shooting guard B.J. Boston, who ranks No. 8; and point guard Jeremy Roach, who ranks No. 15.

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"“I have a good friendship with a lot of the guys in my class and we are really close,” he said to Evans. “We really like each other, so there is a chance [we could end up at the same school].”"

Even though Johnson plays the same position as Barnes, they could easily coexist in the same starting lineup at Duke, especially when considering the Blue Devils may have as few as three returning players on the roster their freshman season.

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Johnson intends to announce his college choice before the next school year begins. Boston’s timeline seems more in line with that of Barnes. Possibly more important to Duke snagging a commitment from Barnes, as he hinted at in his interview with Evans, is Roach’s announcement, which is likely to come at some point this summer.

"“I would need a point guard [to play alongside],” Barnes said, “and a big that can stretch the floor a little, too.”"

One big who could fulfill his requirement is five-star center Walker Kessler, a Duke target who ranks No. 16 and is planning to get his college decision out of the way before his senior season.

ALSO READ: Staff uses bold comparison to lure 2020 C Walker Kessler

Another quality big, the sixth and latest 2020 recruit to receive an offer from the Blue Devil staff, is four-star center Mark Williams, who ranks No. 46 and has not specified how far he is from making his own announcement.

Summarizing what it may take to put Barnes in a Duke jersey, despite no experts yet seeing the Blue Devils as a leader in the race, the coaches will have to get through his next round of cuts unscathed and remain patient while landing the type of pieces he wants around him, including some of his friends.

That shouldn’t be too much to ask from a staff that will likely enter 2020 having landed the nation’s No. 1 class four years straight.

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