Duke basketball: 3 players who will stun the world next season

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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3. Duke basketball freshman small forward AJ Griffin

Check out the above reel of AJ Griffin taking on some high-level competition during an open run this summer. Indeed, several signs point to another full-fledged ACC star ahead as just a Duke basketball freshman.

Another projected 2022 lottery pick.

Fiercely competitive. An NBA-ready 6-foot-6 physique. A honed skillset from growing up the son of current Toronto Raptors lead assistant Adrian Griffin. Confident, calculated steps — every single one of them. Deft handles for his size.

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True, Griffin slipped from No. 6 a year ago to No. 17 on the final 247Sports 2021 Composite. And that’s only five spots higher than the “honorable mention” candidate who could easily wind up among the starry group here: Duke basketball freshman shooting guard Trevor Keels.

But judging from all the past prep and recent Blue Devil scrimmage tapes, it seems the only reason for Griffin’s fall in the rankings was his limited number of contests as a senior due to the heightened pandemic response in his home state, New York. And it probably didn’t help that he took himself out of the recruiting spotlight by committing to Duke as a junior in high school.

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Yet in assessing potential Blue Devil stardom, it doesn’t hurt to know the five-star has been dreaming of his time in a Duke basketball jersey for quite some time.