An old-for-his-grade foreign big man is suddenly attracting big-name suitors, and the Duke basketball recruiters could be among the next to officially join the race.
Early roster outlooks say the Duke basketball program is in need of centers, but none from the 2021 or 2022 class yet hold offers. Several, though, have drawn interest from the staff, and the latest could wind up graduating either year.
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George Harris Prep (Ont.) sophomore Enoch Boakye turns 17 in March, meaning he'd turn 19 before graduating should he remain in his current class. Being a Canadian — like fellow Greater Toronto Area native R.J. Barrett, who reclassed and then starred one season in Durham on his way to becoming the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft — the 6-foot-10, 245-pound post prospect is technically one academic year ahead of the American 2022 class.
Either way, the Duke basketball coaches apparently like Boakye's potential. And they aren't the only ones.
"Michigan State, Houston, UCLA, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Denver, Western Kentucky, Texas A&M, and BYU have all offered me," Boakye, whose parents are from Ghana, told Provost Hoops in November. "Duke and Kentucky have shown interest."
Though Boakye does not yet have a ranking or rating on any major sites — in large part due to living and playing outside the U.S. border — his school's website tags him the "No. 1 player in Canada" while his coach, George Aramide, calls him a five-star and tweeted the video below as evidence of why more and more blue-bloods are starting to pay close attention.
Anyone can see the nimble big man has the necessary motor, strength, awareness, and agility to finish with authority in transition. However, scouting other aspects of Boakye's game is difficult here due to the limited amount of recent highlights available consisting of more than just putbacks and fastbreak dunks.
So here's how Boakye, who said he did not begin taking hoops seriously until seventh grade, described to recruiting scout Kendyl Provost Jr. his overall game:
"The way I describe myself as a player is a big man who can play like a guard. My biggest strength is my post game. It doesn’t matter how you play me; I’m either facing up or backing you down, always getting to the rim...I feel like I can improve on my mid-range jump shot. If I can get that more consistent than it is now I will be unguardable."
Also during his chat with Provost Hoops, Boakye — who played 22.1 minutes per game, averaging 8.8 points and10.8 rebounds while shooting 53.7 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from the foul line, across Team Canada's six-game silver-medal run at the FIBA U16 Americas Championship in June — touched on his personal vision for his playing career:
"Where I see myself positionally longterm is power forward or center...There are quite a few players who I watch to model my game after, but I like to take away from guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shaquille O’Neal, Joel Embiid and Hakeem Olajuwon."
A combo of those four legends donning a Duke basketball jersey in either two or three years? Sounds like a plan.
The Duke coaches have not yet made known their plans for their currently blank 2022 offer sheet. Meanwhile, their list of 2021 offers has already yielded one commit — five-star small forward A.J. Griffin — and also consists of four remaining five-star targets: shooting guard Max Christie, power forward Paolo Banchero, and small forwards Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Jonathan Kuminga.