Duke basketball: Five-star announces somewhat surprising final five

A coveted center has trimmed his list, so did Duke basketball make the cut?

In August, a few days after five-star power forward Paolo Banchero committed to the 2021 Duke basketball class pretty much out of nowhere, then-Rivals insider Corey Evans kept Blue Devil hopes in check regarding five-star big man Charles Bediako by offering the following sentiment:

“The Blue Devils’ recruitment of Bediako is a bit overblown. Adding another big of his talent would be nice, but Paolo Banchero’s commitment may have solidified Duke’s frontcourt needs in the 2021 class.”

Evidently, the recruitment by Mike Krzyzewski and his staff, who extended an offer to Bediako back in December but haven’t appeared to make him much of a priority in recent months, has been enough to survive at least until the final stage of the race.

According to a tweet on Saturday from Tipton Edits, Bediako is down to a final five of Alabama, Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas. The schools that were in the Canadian’s top 10 but didn’t make the cut are Baylor, Maryland, Memphis, Southern Cal, and Tennessee.

Given Duke’s unsurpassed recruiting successes in recent years, it’s not a complete shock for the Blue Devils to wind up on basically any top recruit’s list; after all, including the blueblood name adds publicity to any battle. That said, given that several insiders have implied that Coach K and his gang are now essentially inactive in their pursuit of Bediako, their inclusion is a tad surprising.

Bediako, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound center for IMG Academy (Fla.) who ranks No. 23 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite, has not provided a definitive timeline for deciding on a college. But both the 247Sports Crystal Ball and Rivals FutureCast see Alabama as the clear frontrunner. Per 247Sports analyst Josh Gershon, here’s what the winner stands to receive:

“Mobile center with good size, long arms, and budding athleticism. Very physically immature with a frame that should eventually carry a lot more weight…Still relatively raw on offense…Footwork and face-up ability could improve. Has made progress as a rebounder and rim protector…On the path to be a high-major starter with professional upside depending on skill development.”

Summarizing 2021 Duke basketball recruiting efforts

The Duke basketball coaches are also still in the hunt for the following five-stars: shooting guard Trevor Keels (ranks No. 16), small forward Caleb Houstan (No. 8), and small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. (No. 1).

ALSO READ: Stacking up the four finalists for Caleb Houstan

And the Blue Devils have already landed commitments from two 2021 recruits in Banchero and small forward AJ Griffin, who are both five-stars and rank No. 3 and No. 6 overall, respectively.

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