Duke basketball recruiters eye premier PG, Kyrie Irving lookalike

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

This weekend, the Duke basketball coaches watched an electrifying floor general who may become their No. 1 priority on the 2022 recruiting trail.

The scene was Myers Park High School on Nov. 29 for the featured game of the Charlotte Hoop Challenge. The deficit was two with seconds to play in overtime. Fortunately for the trailing team, the guy with the ball had strikingly similar swagger, silkiness, and soul-snatching superpowers to Brooklyn Nets star and former Duke basketball one-and-done Kyrie Irving.

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The guy with the ball was Cannon School (Concord, N.C.) sophomore point guard Jaden Bradley, who ranks No. 1 among point guards and No. 7 overall on the 247Sports 2022 Composite. The number of defenders who had any chance of stopping what was about to happen next was zero. Take a look and then ask yourself if even Irving would have appeared any smoother in pulling off such a feat:

Like Irving, Bradley plays basketball in cursive — evidently in slow motion for himself while in warp speed for those trying to guard him and everyone watching.

Like Irving, the 6-foot-3, 170-pound five-star is such a dazzling creator in traffic and such a bolt of lightning in transition that passing isn’t always necessary — not to imply he’s at all selfish, though. Like Irving, Bradley punches opponents in the gut with remarkable full-steam-ahead finishes off the glass and, as seen above and below, dagger-like outside shots.

Like Irving did as a prep, Bradley is attracting attention from the Duke basketball staff early in the recruiting cycle. He is the only player in the 2022 class on the list of those the recruiters from Durham are full-fledged “interested” in at the moment, per 247Sports.

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However, though Bradley already holds a dozen or so offers, none are on file yet from the Blue Devils or any other blue-bloods. That said, he took an unofficial visit to Kentucky in October, and the recruiters from Lexington have visited him as well.

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Also, per 247Sports’ Brian Snow, Mike Krzyzewski “dispatched assistant coaches to check in on Bradley” at the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C., on Friday. Assuming they like what they saw from the 16-year-old — he tallied 20 points, 11 dimes, and seven boards in what Snow described as “a very efficient manner” — one might suspect an offer could be in the works.

Besides, consider that by this time in the 2021 cycle, Hamilton (Wis.) five-star small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. had already held an official Duke basketball invite for almost six months.

Bradley sure seems to warrant an equally heavy early pursuit.

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