Three huge Duke basketball recruiting races nearing finish line

Duke basketball target Patrick Baldwin Jr. (USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball target Patrick Baldwin Jr. (USA TODAY Sports) /
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Where Duke basketball chances stand with Patrick Baldwin Jr.

  • Composite rank: No. 3
  • Hometown: Sussex, Wis.
  • Finalists: Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, Milwaukee, Northwestern, UCLA, UNC, Virginia, Wisconsin

There’s no doubt that Patrick Baldwin Jr., who is now a 6-foot-10, 205-pound phenom but remains out of action after suffering a high ankle sprain in his high school’s second game this season, represents the one 2021 recruit whom Mike Krzyzewski and his Duke basketball assistants have eyed the longest.

They extended an offer to the refined playmaker in the summer of 2018.

But despite the lengthy chase and the 247Sports Crystal Ball unanimously pointing to Duke as the suitor to beat, Baldwin has yet to pull the trigger or even significantly trim his list. He has recently forecasted his decision, though, to arrive in February or March.

One explanation out there for the delay is that the former No. 1 prospect in the class hopes to help out his father, Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin, by giving his relatively weak mid-major at least a little limelight as a contender for as long as possible.

Plus, although Baldwin has continued to dispel the notion that he is down to one or two schools, Rivals insider Rob Cassidy opined on Tuesday that Duke is still sitting pretty:

“As for Duke, things still seem encouraging with Patrick Baldwin Jr.”

That said, Cassidy isn’t ignoring the possibility — nor is much of anyone else at this point — that he ends up lacing ’em up for his dad. Actually, in December, Wisconsin-based Rivals writer Jon McNamara became the first from either 247Sports or Rivals to switch a Baldwin prediction to Milwaukee.

Also, unlike most in the recruiting world right now, Cassidy evidently still thinks the UNC basketball recruiters deserve some mention as legit threats in the hunt:

“The Blue Devils will have to beat out Baldwin’s own father…Still, the blueblood is thought to hold an edge. And while North Carolina shouldn’t be counted out, Duke remains the team to watch.”

Ball Durham prediction: DUKE

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