The top five rated recruits in Duke basketball history will surprise you

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Golden State Warriors champ Shaun Livingston, who decided to bypass college altogether after first signing with the Duke basketball program in 2004 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /


Technically, Shaun Livingston is ranked No. 5 among Duke’s all-time recruits, but he never played a game for the Blue Devils. In 2004, he committed to Duke, but he later chose to declare for the NBA draft, where he was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the No. 4 overall pick. Just from the fact that Livingston didn’t play for Duke, I didn’t want to include him in the official top five, but that doesn’t take away from just how good Livingston was in high school.

Livingston was a five-star recruit and also the No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2004, right behind future NBA Hall of Famer, Dwight Howard. His recruit rating, according to 247Sports was 0.9996, a rating that is higher than some other great high school recruits like DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, and former Blue Devil Austin Rivers.

We all know about the comeback story of Livingston and the career he was able to have (he remained in the NBA until his retirement with Golden State after the 2018-19 season). It would have been something special to have seen him in a Duke basketball uniform, even if only for one season.

Now for the top five rated recruits who actually played in Durham…