Former Duke basketball target quickly leaves Roy Williams, North Carolina

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

A former Duke basketball recruiting target is leaving Tobacco Road. 

Just two days after North Carolina saw its season end with a blowout loss in the Round of 64 to the Wisconsin Badgers, a current Tar Heel, and former Duke basketball target, entered the transfer portal.

Walker Kessler made his departure from Tobacco Road official on Monday morning, announcing his intentions to enter the transfer portal after being buried on Roy Williams’ depth chart behind Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, and Day’Ron Sharpe.

Kessler, a 7-foot-1, 245-pound center, was a former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American ranked as the No. 22 player in the Class of 2020, No. 5 center, and No. 1 player in his home state of Georgia, according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings.

The Newnan, Georgia native played in 29 games, starting none, and averaged just 8.8 minutes, 4.4 points, and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Kessler came on strong at the end of the regular season, reaching double-digits in four straight games, which was punctuated with a 20-point performance in a comeback victory over Florida State in 24 minutes.

The other three double-figure games for Kessler were all 10-point outings despite not seeing more than 12 minutes on the floor.

ALSO READ: Duke alum gets up-close look at North Carolina blowout

After his impressive stretch, Kessler only played a combined 20 minutes in a loss to Syracuse and a win over Duke.

Walker Kessler put up another jaw-dropping showing in the ACC Tournament with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and eight blocks against Notre Dame in 21 minutes followed by his playing a combined 21 minutes in a win over Virginia Tech and loss to Florida State.

Kessler played 13 minutes in the Heels’ 23-point blowout loss to end the season.

Duke basketball was once the favorite for Walker Kessler

Walker Kessler committing to North Carolina came as a surprise in both the timing and selection of school as it was an announcement out of nowhere while many predicted Duke to be the favorite to land the prospect.

Prior to selecting the Tar Heels, the Crystal Ball predictions had the Blue Devils and Auburn Tigers as the two leaders to land the 7-footer.

ALSO READ: Duke appears to suffer first official exit of offseason

Mike Krzyzewski could try and lure the center down to Durham, but the emergence of Mark Williams makes that an unlikely scenario this offseason coupled with the addition of five-star forward Paolo Banchero.

There will be a long, long list of suitors for the former five-star recruit, and it seems like more negative roster turnover will be taking place in Chapel Hill this offseason.

Duke assistant coach circulates in head coaching openings. dark. Next