Duke basketball: Three new clues in Patrick Baldwin Jr. chase

Duke basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Latest hints in Duke basketball pursuit of top recruit: THE RECENT COMMENTS

First, let’s examine what Patrick Baldwin Jr. told SI insider Jason Jordan last week concerning his response to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the advancement of his game. Putting stock in the high school senior’s self-assessment, it seems the longer he waits before announcing his school choice, the sweeter the prize will be for the winner:

“What I thought could potentially set me back actually turned out to be the best thing for me, basketball-wise…I was able to use my friend’s private gym pretty early, so I got right to work. I knew that because of the situation that we were all in that I would have to work harder than ever to grow my game…Then the hard work just became habitual, and it kept growing from there.”

Now, dissecting what Baldwin Jr. said to Jordan below about his recruitment, it’s obvious the premier prospect isn’t yet publicly ruling out any member of the top 10 he unveiled in April, consisting of Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Northwestern, UCLA, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee:

“I’m still talking to the majority of those schools pretty regularly, just growing those relationships and things like that. I’ve been getting to know some of the players and staying up to date with who goes where and who I can potentially be playing with. It’s a tough decision because all of the schools have great scenarios for me.”

Beyond the pleasantries, Baldwin Jr. did give Jordan a hint as to whether he’ll pick a destination in time for the early signing period in November. Plus, it appears he has reversed course on his stated intention in the past to not to trim his list again prior to his announcement:

“Now that I’m back to focusing on my recruitment, I could see myself cutting my list down and speeding things up a little bit more now.”

How much Baldwin Jr. will speed up the process is unknown. Originally, he had hoped to make up his mind by summer’s end. Well, that comes at the end of this week. It’s possible he’s now holding out to see if any final in-person visits will be in the cards come fall. Or maybe he’s truly torn between a couple of options. Yet the delay itself could be an indication of where he’s leaning…