Ranking Duke basketball’s chances with five remaining 2021 targets

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball recruiting target Caleb Houstan (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Analyzing Duke basketball recruiting races: Caleb Houstan

In mid-July, by announcing his reclass up from 2022, five-star Caleb Houstan instantly became one the most coveted rising seniors, and for good reason. In any mixtape out there, the No. 8 overall prospect on the 247Sports 2021 Composite exhibits a rare blend of forward-like size, guard-like shooting, and star-like instincts. Plus, the 6-foot-8, 205-pound small forward plays with a distinct smoothness.

Surely foreseeing his reclass due to his already being 17 years old and appearing to already boast the mature game of a college senior, Mike Krzyzewski and his crew extended an offer to Houstan in late June.

Now, it can’t hurt Duke’s chance that the recruit shares in common both the hometown (Mississauga, Ont.) and prep school (Montverde Academy in Florida) of former Blue Devil one-and-done RJ Barrett. Also, seeing that there are no Crystal Ball picks, which makes sense since Houstan has expressed no hurry in making a decision, Coach K & Co. should still have months to put in the required work to reel in a player of his caliber.

In his SI blog from shortly after Duke officially launched its pursuit, Houstan noted that he likes what he has heard from the NCAA’s all-time wins leader thus far:

“For example, just talking to Coach K about how he started coaching at West Point was interesting to me. I didn’t know that he started there, so just to hear about his journey over the last 40 years was cool. I like things like that.”

That said, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams has been a suitor and perceived leader in the race for months now. Add to that the uncertainty regarding the returns next season of Duke basketball underclassmen Wendell Moore, DJ Steward, and others who primarily roam around the wing. Also, bear in mind the potential for the Blue Devils to add another five-star small forward (to come on this list) to the one five-star small forward already in tow in AJ Griffin.

Yes, even though Duke is likely to end up among Houstan’s finalists should he ever name them, it doesn’t seem all that likely the Blue Devils will come out on top in the end.

Chance of Duke basketball landing Caleb Houstan? 15 percent