Duke basketball: Coach K wisely permits touchy chant for ‘perfect recruit’

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

After receiving a warm welcome inside Cameron Indoor Stadium, a prep prospect could be one step closer to gifting his advanced game to the Duke basketball program.

The “[insert name], sit with us!” chant hasn’t always ended pretty this season during Duke basketball home games.

Rewind to Jan. 28 against Pitt. Before heading into the locker room for halftime, Mike Krzyzewski berated the Cameron Crazies for the invite to former Blue Devil and current Panthers head coach Jeff Capel after mistakenly thinking mockery was the motivation.

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Fast forward to the closing minutes of Saturday night’s 88-64 home win over Virginia Tech. Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., a five-star who ranks No. 3 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite and was in attendance as part of an unofficial visit that came as a surprise to the public, answered the summons to move from behind the Duke bench over to the student section.

And per The Chronicle, “it didn’t take much convincing” for the 6-foot-10, 205-pound Duke target to do so. Good thing, of course, seeing that Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein recently reported that Krzyzewski has referred to Baldwin Jr. as “the perfect recruit” (in July 2018, the coaching legend made the namesake of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s head honcho the youngest under his watch to receive a Duke basketball offer).

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Could this covert appearance from Baldwin Jr. be a sign of a commitment on the horizon? Well, in January, the 17-year-old informed Rivals insider Eric Bossi that he doesn’t intend to name finalists until late summer but does plan to choose a school in time to sign in November.

Currently, all seven picks inside the 247Sports Crystal Ball see Durham as the eventual college destination for the picture-perfect sharpshooter, whose advanced skill set and top-shelf hoops acumen would surely translate into a leading role as a Duke basketball freshman the season after next.

To no surprise, Baldwin Jr. is also attracting attention from Kentucky, North Carolina, and a host of others, including his parents’ shared alma mater, Northwestern, where former Duke basketball player and assistant Chris Collins is now at the helm.

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Baldwin Jr. has indicated he won’t schedule official visits until the fall. It wouldn’t be a shock, though, in light of his trip this weekend, if the phenom suddenly added his name to #TheBrotherhood. After all, it’s never wise to underestimate the magic that comes from sitting amongst the Crazies.

Plus, don’t underestimate the power of Jalen Johnson, Duke’s five-star 2020 signee at small forward who also hails from The Badger State and was Baldwin Jr.’s teammate for Phenom University on the Nike EYBL circuit.

“Overall, I like Coach K and Coach (Jon) Scheyer,” Baldwin told Greenstein. “Jalen always has great things to say about the coaches.”

Coach K and his cohorts have thus far landed one early 2021 commit in Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward A.J. Griffin.

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In addition to Baldwin Jr., six other juniors hold unanswered invites to become Blue Devils: Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) five-star shooting guard Max Christie, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) four-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, The Patrick School (N.J.) five-star small forward Jonathan Kuminga, O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero, and Andrews Osborne Academy (Ohio) four-star center Charles Bediako.

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