Duke Basketball: Don’t count out Coach K to land Brandon Boston Jr.

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Although most chatter from insiders suggests otherwise, Kentucky does not at all appear to have sealed the deal for a longtime Duke basketball target.

Don’t blindly buy the hype from Kentucky fans. The Duke basketball coaches are still alive, if not the leaders, in the race for Brandon Boston Jr.

Granted, the 247Sports Crystal Ball gives the Wildcats a 5-to-1 edge over the Blue Devils to nab the 2020 pure-shooter shooting guard who sports a No. 9 composite ranking.

However, upon further inspection, the five experts picking Kentucky all entered their picks within a span of three days. Therefore, at this point, all the predictions prove is a domino effect occurred among prognosticators in mid-May, seeming to stem from the news of John Calipari and his staff making Boston a priority.

But Boston has held an offer from Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski since last summer and included Duke in the final four he announced on May 18 — along with Kentucky, Florida, and Auburn.

Plus, the 6-foot-7, 185-pound five-star from Atlanta — his high school team is the Norcross Blue Devils — has never said anything publicly to imply Coach K and Co. have slipped from his radar.

The opposite is true.

"“Coach K, he’s a great coach,” Boston recently told 247Sports, per director of recruiting Evan Daniels, who has expressed on several occasions he still believes Duke is the frontrunner. “[The Duke coaches] get their players to the league also. They know how to develop a player.”"

Likewise, the Duke staff has never hinted at pumping the brakes in Boston’s recruitment.

And Boston, who believes he can play positions one through three, said one of his deciding factors — he has not given a definitive timeline for a decision — will be which staff comes closest to getting down on hands and knees.

"“They’ve got to want me really. They’ve got to need me the most,” he said earlier in the week, per Adam Zagoria, at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville. “I’ve got to be comfortable with the coach and how they play and just be all the way there with it.”"

With the possibility of only a handful of returning players in Durham come the 2020-21 season, making clear Boston is a necessity shouldn’t be an issue for the Duke coaches.

Add to that the reported past talks he has had with other 2020 five-stars about joining forces in college.

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One of those five-stars is point guard Jeremy Roach, who became the Blue Devils’ lone pledge in May and built a bond with Boston at USA Basketball events last summer. Another is small forward Jalen Johnson, who was alongside Boston at Countdown to Craziness during their official visits to Durham back in October and whose Crystal Ball has long leaned heavily in favor of Duke.

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Furthermore, as an added bonus, the Blue Devils have had luck with recruits from Georgia in recent years with a quarter of the past 16 Duke signees hailing from The Peach State. Rising junior Jordan Goldwire, an overachieving former three-star, played for the same school as Boston. Also as part of the 2017 class, Duke picked up commitments from Georgia natives Wendell Carter Jr., Alex O’Connell, and Jordan Tucker (though Tucker transferred midway through his freshman season).

If Coach K can pry Boston from the supposed grasp of Calipari, then Cameron Crazies will have the opportunity to begin cheering for a sensational slithery playmaker less than 18 months from now. With limbs like granddaddy longlegs and a ridiculously long stride, Boston — whose overall game strongly resembles former one-and-done Dukie Brandon Ingram — will be a problem for defenders at any level.

Earlier this month, the mop-top phenom snatched MVP honors at the EYBL’s stop in Dallas:

On the flip side, he still needs to add strength in order to enhance his own defense and to absorb contact on both ends of the court. However, considering the beauty of his stroke from downtown and his deft handles, fans of whichever program he chooses should be able to forgive him for any weaknesses.

Auburn may be picking up steam as Bruce Pearl and his staff hosted him two weekends ago along with a host of other five-stars.

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In addition to Boston and Johnson, Krzyzewski has offers on the table to five-star small forward Scottie Barnes, five-star point forward Cade Cunningham, five-star center Walker Kessler, and four-star center Mark Williams.

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