Potential Duke basketball target gives firm deadline for recruitment

Duke basketball recruiting prospect MJ Rice (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball recruiting prospect MJ Rice (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball has until the end of 2021 to recruit 2022 prospect MJ Rice.

While the St. James NIBC Invitational was taking place in Springfield, Va., on Sunday, Pro Insight tweeted a brief update to the recruitment of Oak Hill (Va.) junior wing MJ Rice. Apparently, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound five-star pointed out the Duke basketball staff as one of a few keeping in contact, also naming Maryland, NC State, and Pitt.

Currently, Rice ranks No. 23 on the 247Sports 2022 Composite after sitting out most of his sophomore year with an ACL tear. He has been on Duke’s radar since playing for nearby Durham Academy (N.C.) alongside Michael Savarino, now a second-year Blue Devil walk-on who is grandson to head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

And Rice has sat behind the bench for several games in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

ALSO READ: Promising 2022 prospect likes Blue Devils and Tar Heels

However, the 17-year-old does not yet hold a Duke basketball offer; nor, for that matter, does anyone else in his class. Plus, Stock Risers recruiting insider Jake Weingarten also had the chance to speak with Rice over the weekend and never mentioned Coach K & Co. coming up in their chat.

Rather, in that interview, Rice listed Louisville, NC State, Pitt, and Wake Forest as the four schools that seem to be in full pursuit (per 247Sports, those four plus three others comprise his offer sheet).

Weingarten did note what Rice had to say about reclass rumors and his decision timeline:

“I’m not reclassing…I’ll commit at the end of the year.”

In other words, time is running out on the blueblood recruiters to enter the race for Rice, who sure does appear to check all the boxes for a Blue Devil…

Scouting the potential Duke basketball target

MJ Rice notched a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks in Oak Hill’s 52-49 win over fellow powerhouse La Lumiere (Ind.) on Sunday. Here’s what Jake Weingarten observed with regards to the prominent weapon:

“[Rice] has elite offensive skills, can score on all levels but will give you tons of issues on the inside. He’s a very aggressive scorer that isn’t afraid to use his body…can also shoot the three and the midrange. I’d also list him as elite in the physical aspect of things…grown man strength.”

Now, here’s how Rice described his game to Weingarten:

“I’m a competitor. I can guard a 1-5, and I can score at all three levels. I’m a dog, so I’m very aggressive, and I can create my own shot and shots for others. I can really open up the floor and attract all the attention, and I can make plays for my teammates. I can really do it all with my size and ability to score and guard.”

Rice and his Oak Hill teammates are wrapping up their play at the St. James NIBC Invitational at 1 p.m. Monday against iSchool of Lewisville (Texas), featuring another 2022 talent who could receive a Duke basketball offer in five-star guard Keyonte George. The game is on ESPNU.

Three 2021 races nearing the finish line. light. Related Story

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting news and views.