Duke basketball: Surprisingly weak field remains for five-star recruit

Other than the Duke basketball name, a prep’s top 10 looks fairly mediocre.

By way of a tweet on Friday, IMG Academy (Fla.) five-star Charles Bediako, who is the lone 2021 center holding a Duke basketball offer, unveiled his 10 favorites: Alabama, Baylor, Duke, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Tennessee, and Texas.

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Though Memphis, Michigan, Southern Cal, and Tennessee are all respectable recruiting forces, Duke is the only bonafide powerhouse that made the cut for the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Canadian. Unlike most top-tier prospects, Bediako did not include any of the other most recognizable bluebloods, such as Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and North Carolina — despite having seen significant interest from a few of those.

Bediako, who has jumped from No. 90 to No. 20 on the 247Sports 2021 Composite across the past year while expanding his arsenal of post moves, received his offer from the Blue Devils in December. He hasn’t yet visited the program in Durham but has heard from the Duke staff on several occasions, recently via a virtual call in May.

At one time, the 18-year-old was considering a move to 2020, but his AAU coach, Dwayne Washington of UPlay Canada, nixed the idea several weeks ago. Before the June announcement of Bediako’s transfer to IMG, his former coach at Andrews Osborne Academy (Ohio), Dave Briski, implied to recruiting insider Adam Zagoria that there’s no limit to how dominant the mobile big man can become:

“Charles is the ideal five in the modern-day game because of his length and athleticism and his continually improving ability to stretch the floor. His speed is what sets him apart from other guys at his position. Once he consistently uses it in transition and in two-man actions on the perimeter, he will be in a class of his own.”

At the moment, the 247Sports Crystal Ball favors Alabama for Bediako, who has not given a clear timeline for choosing a school. However, the pitch from the Blue Devils should be enticing in light of all the potential playing time up for grabs in the paint the season after next; after all, incoming five-star Mark Williams is the only center who could possibly return from the 2020-21 Duke roster.

Others on the 2021 Duke basketball radar

Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants are also still in pursuit of five more rising seniors, all five-stars: Sunrise Christian (Kan.) point guard Kennedy Chandler, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) shooting guard Max Christie, Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., and O’Dea (Wash.) power forward Paolo Banchero.

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To date, Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward AJ Griffin is the only Duke commit from the class.

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