Key Duke basketball target crushes hope for swift commitment

Duke basketball (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Though a prioritized prospect may still wind up a Duke basketball player, the announcement of those plans likely wouldn’t come as soon as some recent talk has suggested.

Before spring’s end, the Duke basketball staff could grow its 2021 class beyond Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) small forward AJ Griffin, a five-star who verbally joined #TheBrotherhood in November.

But if that’s to be the case, then don’t count on the next addition being Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., who ranks No. 3 on the 247Sports 2021 Composite due to his high hoops IQ, silky smooth moves, and textbook trigger from deep.

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The 6-foot-10, 205-pound five-star out of Milwaukee tweeted late Thursday evening his plan to “soon” name a top 10. Not five. Not three. No, not any number that suggests a commitment is close at hand.

Baldwin Jr., the namesake of Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin, had mentioned a few weeks ago to Rivals insider Corey Evans that present world conditions might hasten his ultimate decision, which he still intends to have out of the way before his senior season begins. Again, though, a double-digit list is hardly a sign that he’s in the final stage.

Currently, Baldwin Jr. holds roughly 20 offers. Safe bets to make the cut include Duke, the 247Sports Crystal Ball leader, plus UW-Milwaukee, for nepotistic reasons; Northwestern, where he was once a ballboy; Marquette and Wisconsin, for proximity reasons; Kansas, which is nearby his dad’s blood relatives; and Kentucky, a finalist for pretty much every five-star it pursues.

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Since visiting Durham in February, Baldwin Jr. has reportedly often heard from Mike Krzyzewski and his gang via texts and Zoom calls. And based on his Blue Devil offer coming almost two years ago, it seems the 17-year-old is the recruit Coach K is counting on to anchor the class and shore up the program’s shooting department, which has often been on strike in recent years.

Duke also has 2021 offers on the table to six more five-stars: Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) point guard Kennedy Chandler, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) shooting guard Max Christie, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels, The Patrick School (N.J.) small forward Jonathan Kuminga, O’Dea (Wash.) power forward Paolo Banchero, and Andrews Osborne (Ohio) center Charles Bediako.

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