Duke Basketball: New name emerges as Coach K pursues epic 2020 class

(Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
(Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images) /

Another cream-of-the-crop 2020 center appears to be on the Duke basketball coaches’ radar.

Worst-case scenario: The Duke basketball staff’s recruitments of the two 2020 centers holding offers, five-star Walker Kessler and four-star Mark Williams, turn up no dice. And by the time the coaches hear the bad news from both, no mutual interest exists with other top-notch big men remaining on the board.

If so, with no returning presence down low likely to be in town for the 2020-21 season, Mike Krzyzewski and his understudies would potentially have to settle for three-stars or graduate transfers to fill the void.

Due to this potential disaster, don’t be surprised if a third offer to a 2020 prospect to man the paint is on the way. Also, don’t be surprised if four-star Dawson Garcia is the one to receive said offer.

Here’s one reason: Garcia, a 6-foot-11, 220-pound center who ranks No. 29 on the 247Sports Composite, hails from Minnesota. Landing recruits from the Land of 10,000 Lakes has become second nature for Coach K, as four of his past six recruiting classes have included a Minnesotan: Tyus Jones in 2014, Gary Trent Jr. in 2017, Tre Jones in 2018, and Matthew Hurt in 2019.

ALSO READ: Tyus Jones set for a nice payday after setting NBA record

As was the case for several of the above Dukies, experts see programs in the Midwest — such as Minnesota, Indiana, and Marquette — having the upper hand early to land Garcia after being the early birds to his recruitment and extending the earliest offers (Dawson now holds 16 offers altogether).

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But here’s an indication the Blue Devils may soon gain ground: this week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., Garcia told recruiting expert Adam Zagoria that Duke is among the handful of blue-blood programs — UNC and Kentucky also included — to have reached out to him as of late and that the distance from Minnesota to North Carolina would not be an issue.

"“Geography doesn’t really affect me at all,” Garcia said. “I like the nice weather, but being from Minnesota, winter doesn’t bother me at all; four seasons doesn’t really affect me. Being far away from home or being close doesn’t really matter to me, just my relationship with the coaching staff and how comfortable I feel about that school [matter].”"

According to Zagoria, Garcia plans to make up his mind on a college in the fall. But with no trimmed list in existence, one can assume he considers his recruitment wide open.

If he does ultimately receive the Duke offer and commit to playing in Durham, the Blue Devils would stand to instantly benefit from the lefty’s versatile game.

He keeps defenders honest with his smooth, quick release from the perimeter. And he regularly punishes other bigs with his old-school, simple-yet-deadly post moves — i.e., he keeps the ball above his chest when attacking the basket and doesn’t rely on fadeaways or unnecessary dribbling.

In addition to his need to bulk up a bit, the only knocks on Garcia seem to be his lacking both a flashy skill set and mind-blowing athleticism.

However, as an added benefit to whichever program ends up with Garcia’s services, he willingly and instinctively makes use of his long arms on defense, making opponents think twice before entering the paint.

That leads us to the best-case scenario for Duke: Garcia, Kessler, and Williams all decide to join forces and play for the coach who gives them the best opportunity to win national titles together, thereby giving the Blue Devils a youthful, talented trio of giants the rest of the country would fear — a trio who potentially would remain at Duke for more than a year.

ALSO READ: Duke likely to host much-needed 2020 center

Coach K and Co. have already snagged a potential multi-year point guard out of the 2020 class in five-star Jeremy Roach and, in addition to Kessler and Williams, have extended offers to five-star small forward Jalen Johnson, five-star small forward Scottie Barnes, five-star point forward Cade Cunningham, and five-star shooting guard B.J. Boston.

ALSO READ: Answering who is best among Coach K’s 2020 targets

Next. Three reasons Duke sweeps UNC next year. dark

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