Duke basketball: Rising 9th-grader piques blue-blood interest

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

An early adolescent is reportedly turning heads from the Duke basketball program and others before his freshman year of high school.

No rankings or ratings from major recruiting sites exist for the 2023 class; after all, we’re talking about rising freshmen in high school. A potential five-star, though, already appears to be attracting attention from the Duke basketball coaches and their blue-blood counterparts.

Per a tweet from Stock Risers’ Jake Weingarten on Monday, the host of programs already expressing interest in 6-foot-7 wing Kwame Evans Jr. — also known as K.J. Evans — include Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oregon, Southern Cal, and Washington.

Of course, with the one-and-done rule likely to draw its last breath by 2023, if Evans’ current trajectory continues, no college program will likely benefit from his spidery limbs spinning webs of problems for opponents — using his game as the silk.

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But the reality is nobody has a clue where he’ll be headed in four years.

That being said, the early evidence suggests Evans, who plays for Team Melo 22 out of Maryland on the Nike EYBL circuit, will make a splash at whatever level he ever plays (last October, he won MVP honors at the Big Shots Mid-Atlantic Top 150, suggesting he could become the top player in his class on the East Coast).

The Baltimorean’s name should sound familiar to college basketball junkies from the 1990s. As the namesake of a guy who consistently filled stat sheets for a George Washington program that made the NCAA Tournament in three of his four seasons, the younger Evans obviously has hoops running through his veins.

From the video and observations available, he seems to be a kid with a natural feel for the game who primarily serves as a slasher while he fine-tunes his outside shot:


At this early stage, his name at least warrants a mental note.

At the moment, phenom small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., who ranks No. 1 on the 247Sports Composite for the 2021 class, owns the distinction as the youngest recruit to ever receive an official offer from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

RELATED: Top 2021 prospect could cap off Coach K’s career

Baldwin’s offer came last summer, a month after the end of his freshman year.

Evans, whose Kevin Durant-like frame may make all his future tasks on the hardwood a cinch, is certainly a legit contender to hold a Blue Devil offer — and plenty of others — by this time next year.

Naturally, the Duke staff also has an eye on a 2023 prospect with a legend for a father: Bronny James.

RELATED: Mike Krzyzewski watches Bronny James at Nike EYBL

Next. Four reasons Duke still has shot at Cade Cunningham. dark

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