Duke basketball staff wisely targets 2020 version of Javin DeLaurier

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball coaches, in a strategic attempt to safeguard against post issues the season after next, have reached out to an able-bodied big man.

Dylan Cardwell is far from a perfect prospect. But his solid frame, mobility, and character — paired with a potentially bare cupboard of returning post presences on the 2020-21 roster in Durham — make him a perfect Duke basketball target at the moment.

Logically, Mike Krzyzewski and his staff have painted a picture of a possible future for the three-star center by making contact, per Cardwell from an interview by USA Today’s Jason Jordan.

Wisely, though, by not yet extending an offer to the rising talent, the coaches have given him a dash of added incentive to continue improving his game.

Fortunately, the 6-foot-11, 230-pound Evans, Ga., product appreciates the significance of the phone call he received on Wednesday.

"“I knew that I was having a big summer, but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know it would lead to schools like Duke reaching out,” said Cardwell, who is transferring from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia to play his senior season for his home state’s McEachern High School in Powder Springs. “We had a good conversation. They were telling me that they felt like I could be a guy that would fit in on and off the court.“They told me that they loved how I rebound and block shots at a high rate, finish with both hands and just play high energy ball.”"

Sound like Javin DeLaurier?

Though Cardwell’s current No. 148 composite ranking doesn’t quite stack up to DeLaurier’s No. 39 mark out of high school, he still has time to climb; besides, most recruiting gurus were probably a bit too high on DeLaurier.

Like DeLaurier, Cardwell displays athleticism and an ability to finish and block shots when on the run but lacks bounce from a standstill and definitely needs to add to his selection of post moves.

He also plays with an impressive level of passion:

Of course, in order to be a spitting image of Duke’s rising senior and longtime adequate paint-filler, Cardwell would also have to foul at an insane rate and permanently affix a five-inch Slip ‘N Slide to each palm.

DeLaurier-bashing aside, though, Cardwell — who has also drawn interest from N.C. State and a handful of other major-conference programs — is another ideal work-in-progress big man who would likely stick around four years.

Playing for Georgia’s AOT Running Rebels at Nike EYBL events over the past couple months, he has Javin-esque averages of 7.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks.

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If nothing else, Cardwell could at least provide a safety net in case the Blue Devils do not land either of the two interior targets holding Duke offers: five-star center Walker Kessler, who ranks No. 15 on the composite, and four-star center Mark Williams, who ranks No. 47.

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Coach K and Co. also recently expressed interest in four-star center Dawson Garcia, who ranks No. 29 and picked up a UNC offer earlier in the week.

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Considering the expiring eligibility of DeLaurier after next season and the likely one-and-done departures of incoming freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Matthew Hurt, if some combination of Cardwell, Kessler, Williams, and Garcia don’t become Blue Devils, then expect plenty more 2020 centers and power forwards to quickly pop up on Duke’s radar.

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