Smooth Duke basketball target to announce finalists

Duke basketball recruiting target Caleb Houstan (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Duke basketball recruiting target Caleb Houstan (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball has a decent chance to wind up on another five-star’s list.

Montverde (Fla.) senior small forward Caleb Houstan is seen by many recruiting insiders as more of a backup option than a priority for the Duke basketball recruiters. However, there are reasons to believe the Blue Devils could be among the finalists for the 6-foot-8, 205-pound sniper.

Of course, Houstan’s silky skillset, primarily his 3-point stroke, is reason to believe Duke would feel lucky to end up with his services, even if only for one season before the five-star possibly becomes a lottery pick.

Sure, Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants seem a bit more focused on Hamilton (Wis.) five-star small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., who ranks No. 1 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite, and Paul VI (Va.) five-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, who ranks No. 16. That said, the Duke basketball staff has also had an offer out to Houstan, who ranks No. 8, ever since June.

Unlike Baldwin Jr. and Keels — who are down to a top 10 and top three, respectively, and appear on track to commit before the early signing period in November — Houstan hasn’t yet put out a list of any size. Until now, he’s appeared to be in absolutely no hurry to do so, much less pick a winner.

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But Houstan’s mother said on Friday that her son intends to unveil his final four on Oct. 7. And Tipton Edits reported the news in a tweet that also listed 16 of the leading contenders to make the cut: Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Oregon, Arizona, Seton Hall, Texas, and Texas Tech.

Considering that Houstan shares much in common with former Duke basketball one-and-done RJ Barrett — they both hail from Mississauga, Ont., but call Montverde Academy their prep home — one might think Durham is at least on his mind as a potential landing spot.

Furthermore, not only has the 17-year-old had nice things to say about Coach K in recent interviews, but it’s also incredibly rare these days for any five-star holding a Duke basketball offer to eliminate the recruiting heavyweight prior to Decision Day.

Could Duke basketball have to one day face Caleb Houstan at UNC?

While there are no picks to date in either the 247Sports Crystal Ball or the Rivals FutureCast for Houstan, there have been some rumblings in the past that UNC is one of the frontrunners.

In other words, it wouldn’t be a surprise if half of Houstan’s top four consists of a pair of rivals separated by just eight miles. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Tobacco Road is exactly where he spends his college days.

Nevertheless, judging from the lack of predictions and few hints thus far, the upcoming finalists are pretty much anyone’s guess (though Arizona and Gonzaga come up in the conversation quite often as well).

Duke’s 2021 class already contains two pledges, both top 10 five-stars: O’Dea (Wash.) power forward Paolo Banchero, who ranks No. 3, and Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) small forward AJ Griffin, who ranks No. 6.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on Caleb Houstan plus other Duke basketball recruiting news and views.