Updated predictions for Duke basketball target Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Duke basketball recruiting target Patrick Baldwin Jr. (USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball recruiting target Patrick Baldwin Jr. (USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball may be on the verge of officially losing a longtime battle.

In July 2018, Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. received a Duke basketball offer. On Monday, for the first time since then, a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction popped up forecasting someone other than the Blue Devils to land the 6-foot-10, 205-pound sharpshooting five-star, who ranks No. 4 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite.

The pick came from a Blue Devil expert. So too did the two that have since followed. All three switched their previous guesses. And all three now foresee — with “high” confidence — Baldwin playing what will likely be a one-and-done campaign for his father, Pat Baldwin, the fourth-year head coach of the Milwaukee Panthers.

ALSO READ: Patrick Baldwin Jr. knows his decision, for now

Sure, there remain three others pointing to Baldwin choosing Duke over Milwaukee and his other eight finalists: Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, Northwestern, UCLA, UNC, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But none of those predictions are recent.

Meanwhile, over at Rivals, Duke holds a 6-2 lead in the eyes of the FutureCast. Again, though, all of the nods for the Blue Devils to end up with Baldwin are at least six months old, and the two latest predictions put the 18-year-old in a Panthers jersey next season.

Now, consider the timing of Jalen Johnson — Baldwin’s former AAU teammate and fellow Milwaukee resident — opting out of his lone season in Durham this week and also deleting Blue Devil content on his Instagram account in advance. With that in mind, the following quote from the coveted recruit to The Chronicle back in July might not be ideal for Duke’s chances:

“Yeah, I mean, [Johnson’s] experience is going to have a huge impact on my decision, just kind of hearing what he has to say about actually being in the program.”

Baldwin continued:

“So I know he’s said great things before he’s gotten there, and just seeing what he’ll say when he’s in the program, how he’s liking school, how he’s liking campus, how he’s liking the people that are there, how he likes his teammates and all that type of stuff. So just him being in my ear and having a first-hand experience from him will be very key to me. Because obviously, I take his opinions very seriously.”

Remember, however, Baldwin also played AAU alongside Duke basketball freshman forward Jaemyn Brakefield, who seems happy as a Blue Devil right now and is likely to actually be on the 2021-22 squad. In other words, behind the scenes, there’s no telling if Baldwin and Brakefield keep in touch or whether Baldwin still seeks input from Johnson.

Talented Duke basketball recruiting class regardless

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants continue to pursue two other five-star prep seniors in Paul VI (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels and IMG (Fla.) center Charles Bediako. As seems to be the case with Patrick Baldwin Jr., both Keels and Bediako could announce at any moment or hold off another few weeks as April’s late signing period approaches.

ALSO READ: Charles Bediako implies Blue Devils still have a shot

Already, the Blue Devils have snagged two 2021 signees in O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero and Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward AJ Griffin.

Related Story. Duke acting fast for decommitted center. light

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