Duke basketball: Interest in transfer spells bad news on recruiting trail

Duke basketball (USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball is reportedly one of many looking at a former Auburn guard.

Per Travis Branham of 247Sports, the new transfer rule allowing players to change schools once without having to sit out is likely to pass and go into effect this offseason. And per Jack Pilgrim of Kentucky Sports Radio, the Duke basketball staff is among those who have already reached out to Justin Powell since the freshman guard announced his transfer from Auburn on Tuesday.

Powell, a former three-star recruit from Kentucky who ranked No. 185 overall on the 247Sports 2020 Composite coming out of high school, is arguably the hottest name in a transfer portal that already consists of more than 275 names.

This season, across Powell’s 10 outings before suffering a concussion that has kept him out of action for all but one game this calendar year, the 6-foot-6 sharpshooter averaged 11.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the field, including 44.2 percent from downtown, plus 76.5 percent from the foul line.

Does this suggest bad news in two Duke basketball recruiting races?

While there is no word yet as to whether Justin Powell is genuinely interested in the Blue Devils, the interest coming out of Durham might point to Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants losing all confidence in their ability to snag a couple of remaining 2021 targets.

With a general assumption that current Duke basketball freshman guards DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach will return next season alongside now-sophomore wing Wendell Moore and junior wing Joey Baker, Coach K and his gang still have offers on the table to only two perimeter-oriented prep seniors: Hamilton (Wis.) forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Paul VI (Va.) guard Trevor Keels.

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Both Baldwin and Keels are heralded five-stars. That said, the 247Sports Crystal Ball has favored Milwaukee for months in the Baldwin sweepstakes. Plus, as of Tuesday, it has officially flipped to Villanova for Keels.