Duke basketball recruiters impress possible hidden gem

The Duke basketball staff has suddenly become involved with a foreign star.

Yes, the Duke basketball recruiting news that broke on Thursday further dulls the chances of Mike Krzyzewski seeing a commitment from his offers to two 2021 shooting guards: Rolling Meadows (Ill.) five-star Max Christie and Paul VI Catholic (Va.) five-star Trevor Keels.

But the news itself, which is the mutual interest out of the blue between the Blue Devils and a budding sharpshooter overseas, could result in much more than a consolation prize. That’s because 17-year-old French prospect Ousmane Dieng appears on the cusp of becoming a silky sensation who, if in America, possibly would garner a five-star rating and a higher ranking on the 247Sports 2021 Composite than Christie (No. 12) and Keels (No. 16).

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According to 247Sports insider Evan Daniels, Dieng noted this week he recently virtually met with Duke assistants Jon Scheyer, Nate James, Chris Carrawell, and Nolan Smith. Yup, that’s all of them, signaling considerable curiosity out of Durham. Despite no offer yet from Krzyzewski and his crew, the 6-foot-9, 185-pound guard expressed the positive vibes he felt toward and from his powerhouse pursuer:

“I am seriously considering Duke…I feel honored that Duke is interested in me. It was really interesting to learn about The Brotherhood. Very inspiring. The coaches also discussed player development, how they envision me fitting into their program, and how they can prepare me for the NBA. They have a great track record in developing some of the best players in the NBA.”

Of course, Duke isn’t the only potential option. Dieng noted to Daniels that he’s heard from Arizona, Cincinnati, Memphis, Oregon State, Stanford, Wake Forest, and Washington State. Plus, the Paris native isn’t ignoring pro possibilities.

As Daniels wrote, “Dieng emerged last summer at the FIBA U16 European Championship, where he helped lead France to a second-place finish…averaged 8.9 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.7 rebounds.”

A scouting report on Dieng took some digging, but Ignacio Rissotto of The Stepien provided the following tidbits in March:

“Extremely coordinated…ability to go through tight spaces…able to create drives thanks to his body control on the move…next to another point guard, Dieng’s production can drop a bit, especially on defense where he still needs to gain strength to be effective covering wings…the foundational skillset at his size and the flashes of shooting off movement make him one of the most interesting prospects in this class.”

Who else could be part of the next Duke basketball class?

The Duke basketball coaches remain in pursuit of Christie, Keels, and four more five-star rising seniors: Sunrise Christian (Kan.) point guard Kennedy Chandler, Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., O’Dea (Wash.) power forward Paolo Banchero, and IMG Academy (Fla.) center Charles Bediako.

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Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward AJ Griffin, No. 7 on the composite ranking, is so far Duke’s only 2021 commit.

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