Top Duke basketball recruiting target suffers devastating and major injury

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images) /

The top Duke basketball recruit suffered a devastating injury on Friday night.

While the Duke basketball program was in the midst of its matchup against Bellarmine on Friday night, its top recruiting target suffered a major injury.

Patrick Baldwin Jr. had taken the floor for Sussex Hamilton’s (Wis.) second game of the 2020-21 season, after dropping 43 points in its season opener on December 1.

One of the top-rated recruits in the Class of 2021, according to 247 Sports Composite Rankings, was already up to 11 points on Friday before disaster struck.

The 6-foot-9 small forward dropped to the ground following a drive to the basket, writhing in pain and clutching at his left ankle.

Baldwin Jr. had to exit the game and did not return as his team mounted a late comeback against Menomonee Falls (Wis.) for a 70-63 win.

However, this was not your typical rolled ankle as it appears to be much more serious.

Sussex Hamilton head coach Andy Cerroni, through Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said, “It wasn’t good. It was dislocated…I saw it popped out, and then it went back in. Obviously, it’s serious and it’s unfortunate.”

Last season, Patrick Baldwin Jr. was named as the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year, while entering the offseason as the top-ranked recruit in the country.

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As a junior, the standout forward averaged 24.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game.

Baldwin Jr. announced his Top-10 finalists in May, which include Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgetown, Northwestern, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin.

According to the 247 Sports and Rivals recruiting experts, Baldwin is a heavy lean towards Duke and could join forces with 2021 signees Paolo Banchero and Adrian Griffin Jr. to create one of the best recruiting classes ever.

Cerroni also told Hogg that Baldwin Jr. will undergo an MRI to reveal the full severity of the injury.

“I can’t imagine, if something pops out like it did, it’s probably not just going to be a sprain. It was dislocated,” Cerroni explained to Hogg.

What the injury means for the Duke basketball target

Given that the extent of the injury is not known, a timetable for a dislocated ankle can range from anywhere between six to 12 weeks, pending if surgery is needed. And reading between the lines on Andy Cerroni’s comments, it does not appear like he expects Patrick Baldwin Jr. back on the court this season.

Baldwin Jr. did have a message for his fans and teammates following the victory on Friday night:

Ball Durham lead recruiting analyst Matt Giles also detailed what could be holding up Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s decision last week, but that timeline certainly could be pushed back now that a serious injury is thrown into the equation.

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Paolo Banchero also detailed this week that he is working hard to get his fellow star 2021 recruit to Durham for next season.

As we await further word on the extent of Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s injury and what his future plans entail, we wish him nothing but the best with his MRI results and rehab from injury.

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