Duke basketball recruiting: 4 fantastic facts about Dariq Whitehead

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4

The third fantastic fact about Duke basketball commit Dariq Whitehead

FACT: Up until his teenage years, Whitehead was strictly an eye-popping football player from a football family.

“I was strictly a football player,” Whitehead confirms in his commitment video below.

Perhaps at the time, at least by glancing at the above highlights, Whitehead was on track for a five-star prep rating as a wide receiver or defensive end. Accurate or not, that’s how his proud aunt, Mercedes Walker, describes the phenom athlete’s childhood:

“It wasn’t until, I would say, about fifth grade. Dariq was a football player. Dariq was badass at football, like phenomenal, [to the point] people were probably recruiting him in the fifth grade. But Dariq loved basketball — and he wasn’t good.”

Walker continued:

“But he had a passion for it. He didn’t have that same passion [for football]. He was just really good at football. But he didn’t have that same passion as he had for basketball, where he’d want to practice all the time…It was the championship game for football, and he chose to go to a basketball tournament, where I was like, ‘Ah, he really loves basketball.'”


Whitehead’s mom, Quadira, said she didn’t know what to think at first about her son’s chosen path, simply because she knew far less about the hardwood than the gridiron:

“I’ve never been into watching basketball. My oldest sons play football. I’m a football mom. That’s all in my mind: football. So I started going to the games, and it was just amazing hearing the crowd around me and the spectators all talk about my son and how good he was at this game called basketball.”

She’s sure to hear plenty of all that and more during her 2022-23 trips to Duke basketball games, which leads us to the fourth and final positive tidbit here about her hoops kid: