Duke basketball: Top-tier five-star hopes for call from Blue Devils

IMG forward Jarace Walker is requesting Duke basketball attention (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
IMG forward Jarace Walker is requesting Duke basketball attention (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

One premier athlete in the class of 2022 desires Duke basketball attention.

Ever since June 15, when programs could begin directly contacting 2022 recruits, the Duke basketball coaches have made a statement by shifting from their typical strategy in recent years. In effect, rather than focus on top-shelf five-stars, Mike Krzyzewski had his assistants ignore prospects higher than No. 9 on the 247Sports 2022 Composite.

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Well, it now seems the gang in Durham should at least seriously consider making an exception to their perceived limit by dialing up the rising junior who ranks No. 8, IMG Academy (Fla.) small forward Jarace Walker. After all, per 247Sports insider Travis Branham, who spoke with the 6-foot-7, 235-pound five-star this week, he is “hoping to hear from Duke.”

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Granted, Walker also reportedly said he is looking to add Kentucky to the following list of schools that have hit him up during the past nine days: Arkansas, Bryant, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Syracuse, Tulsa, and Virginia Tech. Plus, one possible discouragement to the Blue Devils is that the 16-year-old, who grew up 40 miles north of Baltimore in southern Pennsylvania, mentioned liking the Tar Heels as a kid.

Could the Duke basketball staff see Jarace Walker as too manly for college?

Nevertheless, Walker’s Herculean frame, magnificent lift, and deep toolbox certainly seem worthy of Duke’s attention, especially in light of his openly inviting it. Of course, the mixtapes alone hint that he’s not all that far from being NBA-ready, meaning he could become a prime candidate to bypass the NCAA route altogether in favor of a substantial G League contract.

In February, as only a sophomore, Walker came in at No. 49 on the ranking by Rivals of the top 100 high school players, regardless of age, ahead of all but two of the six heralded incoming Duke basketball freshmen. Corey Evans and Eric Bossi, the analysts who compiled the list, provided this observation:

“It’s hard to believe he’s only a high school sophomore because he looks like and is as athletic as many college sophomores.”

Brian Snow at 247Sports appears to agree with that assessment in his scouting report on Walker:

“A unique and versatile prospect…looks far more advanced physically than most players his age…A physical and skilled wing. Has the ability to score the ball at a high-level going to the rim. One of the best things that he does is attack the rim off the dribble and make a good pass to a teammate. Even though he isn’t a point guard, Williams has good floor vision and a solid basketball IQ. Given his strength and physique, he also is a good rebounder and should be a strong defender in time.”

In time, maybe Walker will get all the calls he’s looking for from blueblood recruiters.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting news and views.