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 mascot (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Analyzing Duke basketball recruiting races: Patrick Baldwin Jr.

A common notion across social media is that the tussle for the No. 1 prize on the 247Sports 2021 Composite is the Duke basketball staff’s to lose. Yet it’s important to remember that Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. technically still has nine other schools, including a handful of heavyweights, on the list of favorites he disclosed in the spring: Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Northwestern, UCLA, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Plus, the obvious lightweight program in his top 10 is now seen as a possible frontrunner. And that’s because Baldwin Jr.’s dad is the head coach of UW-Milwaukee. Due in part to current world conditions on top of the uncertain future of Pat Baldwin’s job status should he suffer another losing season, more and more folks are starting to wonder if the 6-foot-10, 205-pound phenom is seriously conflicted when it comes to thinking about playing for anyone other than his pops.

Even though the Crystal Ball still unanimously favors the Blue Devils, perhaps that is just because Crystal Ball experts feel a little weird about pulling the trigger on a UW-Milwaukee prediction for the most coveted player in a class. So this may actually be more of a two-horse race with no significant lead by either. Put another way, it’s conceivable a “Duke or Dad” dilemma lies ahead for Baldwin Jr., who has hinted at plans to commit somewhere before the November signing period.

Crystal clear, though, are the feelings of the Duke staff, who more than two years ago now made Baldwin Jr. the all-time youngest recipient of an offer from Mike Krzyzewski. Whether the persistence and all-in recruitment pay off, well, that may come down to the conversations that happen between father and son in the Baldwin household over the next few months.

Overall, though tough to pinpoint the leader between Duke and UW-Milwaukee — that statement, while seemingly accurate, just feels silly to type — the Baldwin Jr. recruitment does appear to be a two-sided tug-of-war. On the other hand, an unexpected late charge from one or more of the other bluebloods on the 17-year-old sharpshooter’s list certainly isn’t completely out of the question just yet.

Chance of Duke basketball landing Patrick Baldwin Jr.? 49 percent

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