Duke basketball coaching staff could be losing lead for five-star priority

Duke basketball signee Trevor Keels (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Duke basketball signee Trevor Keels (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It’s possible a lead for the Duke basketball program could be shrinking for a coveted recruit.

It’s fitting that on November 5 we are talking about a lead growing or shrinking for the Duke basketball program.

However, with all joking aside, conflicting reports from various recruiting sites have been released in recent days regarding Duke basketball target Trevor Keels.

Keels, a five-star prospect in the Class of 2021, has narrowed his top schools to Duke, Villanova, and Virginia, but many insiders project this to be a two-team race between the Blue Devils and Wildcats.

Just yesterday, Jake Weingarten of Stock Risers penned Mike Krzyzewski to be his favorite to land the Paul VI shooting guard, but Rob Cassidy of Rivals sees things a little differently in his recruiting column on Thursday morning.

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“This feels like an ever-so-slight lead, but a lead nevertheless,” Cassidy noted in writing about Villanova. “Duke is certainly still in this race, and it will shock no one if the Blue Devils pull it out. Still, Jay Wright and company have to feel good about where they stand with Keels. The Wildcats have had great success in the Washington, DC area under Wright, after all.”

Cassidy recently became one of the top recruiting experts at Rivals since Eric Bossi jumped ship to rival outlet 247Sports.

“The fact that ‘Nova will have to replace All-Big East selection Collin Gillespie next year is also a nice selling point, as the hole in the backcourt could be appealing to a prospect like Keels that is capable of filling that void right away. That said, the Wildcats’ 2021 class is already loaded and could work against them.”

Why the Duke basketball program should be confident

Rob Cassidy seems like the only recruiting expert to go out on the limb in saying the Blue Devils are not the favorites to land Trevor Keels, but even he is creating a bridge to walk back on that hot take.

“Duke was Keels’ last visit before the Covid-19 crisis shut everything down and has looked like the favorite to win this battle at times over the last year,” Cassidy explained. “There isn’t much to separate the Blue Devils and Wildcats.”

The Blue Devils also have the advantage of selling Keels on the point that he can play with his high school teammate Jeremy Roach, pending the current Duke basketball freshman returns to Durham for his sophomore season.

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“Mike Krzyzewski has made Keels a top priority,” Cassidy wrote, “and Coach K rarely whiffs when he sets his focus in this matter.”

Listed at 6-foot-5, the guard ranks as the No. 16 player in the Class of 2021 via the 247Sports Composite Rankings and No. 2 shooting guard in the country.

Already landing commitments from five-star recruits AJ Griffin and Paolo Banchero, the Blue Devils have set their sights on Trevor Keels and Patrick Baldwin to complete their 2021 class.

“Nobody is going to be stunned,” Cassidy pointed out, “if Duke is the team left standing when Keels announces his decision.”

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