Duke basketball: Two recruiting races see sudden surge from Blue Devils

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Just as a couple of five-star prospects seemed on the verge of disappearing from the Duke basketball radar, some news has popped up to suggest otherwise.

More than six months ago now, the Duke basketball recruiters reeled in a verbal commitment from Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) small forward AJ Griffin, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound five-star who ranks No. 7 on the 247Sports 2021 Composite. Ever since then, Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants have been working to give Griffin some company in their 2021 class, which probably needs to consist of no less than four players in the end.

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Even though Krzyzewski and his gang have yet to produce another commit, they are now the unanimous favorites inside the 247Sports Crystal Ball for three more five-star talents among the nation’s top 15 rising seniors: Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) point guard Kennedy Chandler, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) shooting guard Max Christie, and Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr.

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That said, as the coaches in Durham have zoomed in on the above names plus O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero, who holds a No. 4 composite ranking and continues to consider joining forces with Chandler in college, several others who long ago received Duke basketball offers have appeared to somewhat slip out of their sight.

Updates this week, though, imply that Coach K and his cohorts haven’t at all given up on two such targets. So let’s take a look at this pair of potential Blue Devils, one at a time…