Duke basketball closing in on its first commit of NIL era

Duke basketball commit Dariq Whitehead (USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball commit Dariq Whitehead (USA TODAY Sports) /

One Duke basketball target will announce his decision in less than a month.

Montverde (Fla.) small forward Dariq Whitehead hasn’t named finalists. Nevertheless, the rising high school senior tweeted this week that he will announce his decision on Aug. 1, which is only five Sundays from now. And it seems safe to assume that the Duke basketball program would be on the shortlist if the five-star had one.

In fact, several signs in the loaded recruitment point to what is perhaps a two-horse race between Duke and Florida State.

One such sign is that Whitehead, who ranks No. 6 overall on the 247Sports 2022 Composite, has thus far taken official visits to only those two ACC schools and has yet to reveal any other trips on his calendar.

Duke basketball might be the frontrunner

Ever since February, the 247Sports Crystal Ball showed Florida State as the predicted landing spot for the polished playmaker from New Jersey. But as of Thursday, three of the four entered picks paint Duke as the favorite; that said, all four of the experts have given their predictions a “medium” tag in the confidence department.

In May, Whitehead alluded to growing up a fan of the Blue Devils.

And around the time of his visit to Durham in early June — just days removed from the announced 2022 retirement of Mike Krzyzewski, with Jon Scheyer set to assume the Duke basketball reins — Whitehead implied to Jason Jordan of SI.com that the coaching change is no deal-breaker:

"“I have always had a lot of respect for what Coach K did at Duke. How can you not? But Duke is Duke. It doesn’t really change anything for me with him leaving…I trust Coach Scheyer 100 percent as a head coach.”"

Although Scheyer still hasn’t reeled in his first 2022 pledge, the start of the NIL era this week — where college athletes can now profit off their name, image, and likeness — shouldn’t hurt in the Whitehead battle or other high-profile pursuits.

Next. The 100 greatest Blue Devils under Coach K. dark

After all, according to Duke basketball’s official Twitter account, the program has far more followers across social media than any other, not to mention more than 28 NHL teams, 20 MLB teams, 14 NFL teams, and six NBA teams.