Five-star Duke basketball target notices love among Blue Devils

Duke basketball (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /

A key prospect on the Duke basketball wishlist is fond of Blue Devil bonds.

Paul VI (Va.) senior sharpshooter Trevor Keels recently told Eric Bossi of 247Sports that he’s unsure when he’ll finally decide on a college destination. Evidently, as the 6-foot-5, 210-pound five-star detailed during the interview, one explanation for the delay is his strong feelings toward the Duke basketball program as well as his two other finalists in Villanova and Virginia:

“It is definitely a difficult decision…But the biggest thing for me is having a relationship with the head coach. I’ve got a great relationship with all three head coaches; they are all good men, and they all have winning records. I want to be around a team that is going to win, and they all win.”

Keels, who has been near the center of the Blue Devil radar for more than a year and trimmed his suitors to three in September, ranks No. 18 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite. The 17-year-old’s status as a premier backcourt weapon among his peers is due in large part to his forward-like physique, guard-like abilities, and coach-like IQ.

Here is what Keels said to Bossi specifically about the Duke basketball staff and the sincere connections that he has witnessed between past and present Blue Devils:

“Duke, it is ‘The Brotherhood.’ Having somebody up there like Jeremy Roach that I’ve played with as a teammate, he’s telling me things they do. It is good having a relationship with Coach K and just picking his brain, as good of a coach as he is. That is helpful. You can tell they all love each other there.”

Next, Keels, who hails from Clinton, Md., gushed to Bossi about the Wildcats:

“Villanova is only a few hours from home. It is the closest of all three. Jay Wright has been recruiting me since I was in middle school. He is always calling my phone, always talking to me about things…I have another former teammate up there, Brandon Slater, who has been there for a few years and is always telling me things.”

Finally, Keels took the time to praise the folks at Virginia, focusing on what is the obvious strength of the Cavaliers:

“They love playing defense…I think that is what you have to be able to do if you want to get to the NBA…Tony Bennett has been recruiting me since I was younger too, and coach [Jason Williford]; I have a tight relationship with him…”

An important piece to the 2021 Duke basketball puzzle

Per the three predictions inside the 247Sports Crystal Ball for Trevor Keels, Duke is the clear frontrunner. On the other hand, all those picks come from Blue Devil insiders and are set at “medium” confidence levels. Furthermore, the lone expert to have entered a forecast for the heralded recruit into the Rivals FutureCast envisions Villanova coming out on top.

If Keels does choose to join #TheBrotherhood, then not only would he give the Duke basketball program another reliable ballhandler next season, but he would also potentially stick around more than one year and likely become one of the smoothest triggers to come through Durham in recent memory.

And then there’s Hamilton (Wis.) five-star small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., whose 247Sports Crystal Ball also unanimously favors Duke; Baldwin, Keels, and IMG (Fla.) five-star center Charles Bediako comprise the group of high school seniors still weighing Duke basketball offers.

ALSO READ: Three Duke recruiting races nearing the finish line

Now, if both Baldwin and Keels follow the lead of the two current Blue Devil signees — O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero and Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward AJ Griffin — then Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants would possess two of the purest 3-point snipers among all 2021 prospects.

Naturally, if that dream haul was to play out, then the Blue Devils would find themselves in prime position to end up with what would be their fifth No. 1 class across the past eight recruiting cycles.

A lot of if’s. Yet still plenty of reasons for optimism.

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