One Duke basketball recruiting battle was supposed to wrap up before April.
Factor in the expected sophomore return of Duke basketball starting center Mark Williams in combination with the signed letter of intent from O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero, who ranks No. 3 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite.
With those two frontcourt pieces likely to be starring in Durham next season, it doesn’t seem likely that IMG (Fla.) big man Charles Bediako, who ranks No. 26, will choose to be a Blue Devil.
The 247Sports Crystal Ball supports that notion, currently giving Alabama a 100 percent chance to land the 6-foot-11, 225-pound budding four-star over Duke and Bediako’s other three finalists: Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas.
Still, as was the case with Banchero and several others before him over the years — Zion Williamson, for example — surprise commitments do arise in favor of Duke sometimes. So the Bediako news is still worth keeping an eye on, especially in light of the fact the Canadian told Jamie Shaw of Rivals in February that his announcement is sure to come by the end of March:
“I know I said I was supposed to commit in January. You know, stuff happened. I could commit at any moment now, but it will be at the latest March.”
Checking the calendar, it is now March 30. Therefore, unless there has been a sudden change of plans — which, of course, could imply that the 19-year-old remains uncertain of his college destination — folks should expect to see some final Charles Bediako news at some point either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Other 2021 Duke basketball recruiting races
Now, the Duke Blue Devils are also still in the hunt for Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., who ranks No. 4 in the 2021 class, and Paul VI (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels, who sits No. 20.
While Keels has advertised an upcoming April 4 decision, Baldwin has not yet pinpointed a date. Meanwhile, the Crystal Ball paints the Duke basketball coaches as the clear leader for Keels, but it has them running in second, behind Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin, in their pursuit of the younger Baldwin.
On top of Paolo Banchero, the Blue Devils already boast a signature from another McDonald’s All-American in Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward AJ Griffin, who ranks No. 7 among high school seniors.