As Ball Durham recently opined, the chase for Hamilton (Wis.) junior Patrick Baldwin Jr. — a 6-foot-10, 205-pound small forward whose skills are arguably more advanced than any of his 2021 peers — represents the one must-win for the Duke staff:
“Only three of the past 16 Duke basketball teams have made less than 37.0 percent of their 3-point attempts. One was last season’s bunch, who turned in a 30.8 eyesore. Another is the current squad, sitting on a [35.5 clip through 25 games].
“A possible future solution, at least for one season, could come in the form of [Baldwin Jr.]…But Baldwin Jr., who recently told Rivals’ Eric Bossi that he ‘would definitely like to get out to Duke’ for an unofficial visit, is more than just a long-range sniper with a picture-perfect trigger. In fact, what seems to separate the 17-year-old from his peers — as one might expect from the son of a college coach — is his refined, smooth movements all over the court, translating into a remarkably confident demeanor with the ball in his hands.
“Plus, he boasts a lean frame with long arms in addition to off-the-charts basketball IQ and adequate athleticism. Former Duke basketball national champ Mike Dunleavy Jr., another head coach’s offspring, seems to be a relatively suitable comparison.”
ALSO READ: The 100 greatest Blue Devils under coach K
With seven expert picks in thus far, the 247Sports Crystal Ball unanimously shows Baldwin Jr. as a future Blue Devil. However, he has not taken official visits and doesn’t intend to name favorites until at least the summer.
And new eyeballs have been at his games of late — like those of North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, according to recruiting insider Andrew Slater — suggesting other big-name recruiters are still likely to enter the battle for his services.
So there you have it. Baldwin Jr., who in July 2018 became the youngest recipient of a Mike Krzyzewski offer, represents the finishing touch to this proposed dream class. And his touch would put such a crop — five five-stars among the top 15 on the 247Sports Composite — in the discussion of the all-time best.
A dream, yes, but definitely a realistic one.
Note: The other 2021 recruits holding Duke offers at the moment are The Patrick School (N.J.) five-star small forward Jonathan Kuminga, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) four-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, and Andrews Osborne Academy (Ohio) four-star center Charles Bediako.