Duke basketball: Coach K must offer 7-foot marvel, pronto

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

If the Duke basketball coaches don’t soon enter the fray for the most one-of-a-kind 2021 prospect, then they may have regrets in a couple of years when scrambling for a strategy to contain him.

Every major recruiting site lists Minnehaha Academy (Minn.) junior Chet Holmgren as a center. But such a title doesn’t do the five-star justice. Neither does the lack of a Duke basketball offer.

On Wednesday, per Prep Hoops’ Ryan James, members of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff were on hand to watch Holmgren — a guard on stilts who just so happens to check most boxes in the paint — in the same state that has recently gifted the Blue Devils with five-stars Tyus Jones, Gary Trent Jr., Tre Jones, and Matthew Hurt.

The convoy from Durham had already scouted the 7-foot, 190-pounder — weight is not a typo — at the tail end of a summer campaign that impressed enough eyes to boost his 247Sports 2021 Composite ranking from No. 61 to No. 5. Across his 14-game campaign on the Under Armour Association circuit, Holmgren averaged 15.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.9 blocks — that last stat is not a typo — while knocking down 48.4 percent of his 43 attempts from beyond the arc.

Trending. 100 greatest Duke basketball players under Coach K. light

And just as the meteoric rise was beginning back in May — after picking up offers from the likes of Kansas, Florida, and Gonzaga as well as drawing interest from Kentucky and UNC — Holmgren informed recruiting insider Andrew Slater that he would like to hear from Duke. One can assume he’d now like to see a Duke offer.

Those who focus on Holmgren’s sticks for limbs and are skeptical his effectiveness would translate to the Duke basketball program, well, they must not have seen what he did to NBA great Steph Curry in August:

What Holmgren lacks in beef he more than makes up for in energy, competitiveness, intimidation, and confidence. And though his dizzying drives, crisp shots, and decisive putbacks set him apart from every other center his age, his instincts on the other end may be his No. 1 asset.

"“When I’m rolling, my timing on defense is on point,” Holmgren recently boasted to 247Sports’ Evan Daniels. “I’m everywhere at the right time, my timing is great, I’m blocking shots, I’m completely stopping other teams defensively…”"

Holmgren, who sports a 7-foot-6 wingspan and a growing list of suitors, holds an offer from Florida State and took an unofficial visit to Virginia over the summer. Therefore, Coach K needs to go ahead and join the race while the recruitment is still wide open; otherwise, the Blue Devils run the risk of being all but defenseless should he play for an ACC foe.

Besides, Holmgren’s swagger seems to be of the type that Duke has historically excelled at using to aggravate the rest of the country.

The only 2021 recruits holding Duke offers at the moment are all also five-stars: power forward Paolo Banchero, small forward Jonathan Kuminga, small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., small forward A.J. Griffin, and shooting guard Max Christie.

ALSO READ: Duke staff sends a serious message to five-star

So with no big men yet in the bag for the Blue Devils’ 2020 class and no offers out to a 2021 center, one would think an immediate offer to Holmgren, who could potentially shine at any and all positions at any level, would be a no-brainer.

light. Hot. Three Duke basketball freshmen likely to become sophomores

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