Duke basketball: Prospect pits Blue Devils against Tar Heels

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and UNC coach Roy Williams (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and UNC coach Roy Williams (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball coaches see a familiar foe on the latest list from a 2020 recruit.

Five-star 2020 point guard Jeremy Roach, who verbally committed to the Duke basketball program in May, will need a running mate in the backcourt the season after next.

D.J. Steward may be the answer.

The four-star 2020 combo guard, who ranks No. 27 on the 247Sports Composite, surprised no one on Thursday by including Duke on the list of his eight finalists. Also making the cut were North Carolina, Depaul, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville, and Texas.


Sure, guards Alex O’Connell and Jordan Goldwire will be seniors on the 2020-21 Duke basketball roster, but neither has yet to prove worthy of a fulltime starting role; besides, the ideal situation would be for Roach to build chemistry with another guard in Durham for more than one year.

And now that B.J. Boston has committed to Kentucky — and landing Cade Cunningham seems a bit far-fetched with his brotherly ties to Oklahoma State — the Blue Devils’ pursuit of Steward is crucial.

Fortunately, the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder out of Whitney Young High School in Duke-hotbed Chicago appears to have Blue Devil written all over him — all six 247Sports Crystal Ball picks see it that way.

Furthermore, Roach and Duke’s only other 2020 commit, five-star small forward Jalen Johnson, have been selling Steward on #TheBrotherhood ever since he picked up a Duke offer (came on July 13, just after his impressive Peach Jam performance).

RELATED: Blue Devils target soaks up attention from Brotherhood

A first glance at Steward’s list suggests about half the schools — the ones closest to his home — are only on the list as a sign of respect to the coaches who have been recruiting him for years.

A second glance suggests this is a battle between three ACC powers: Duke, UNC, and Louisville.

RELATED: Top three threats to Blue Devils recruiting

Whichever program winds up with Steward’s services is sure to benefit from his diverse, trustworthy talents. His chiseled frame, athleticism, and length will bode well for him at the college level. His deep-ball is buttery soft. His basketball instincts are on point — same goes for his handles. He can play point guard when necessary.

Steward told Stockrisers’ Jake Weingarten, “My visits will be planned next week.” He hinted in recent weeks he would like to take an official visit to Duke in the fall.

Others 2020 prospects holding outstanding Duke basketball offers are five-star center Walker Kessler, five-star small forward Ziaire Williams, four-star center Mark Williams, and four-star power forward Henry Coleman.

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