Duke basketball: Predicting which school Dereck Lively will choose

Duke basketball (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Will the Duke basketball staff come out on top for five-star Dereck Lively?

Rewind 24 hours. When Westtown (Pa.) center Dereck Lively tweeted on Friday afternoon that he’ll be announcing his decision at 6 p.m. ET Monday, the Duke basketball coaches looked like long shots to beat out their Kentucky basketball counterparts. At the time, all three predictions between the 247Sports Crystal Ball and Rivals FutureCast pointed to the Wildcats.

Not anymore.

One expert has since flipped his prediction from Kentucky to Duke. Two more have entered new predictions, each favoring the Blue Devils. Currently, Jon Scheyer and his gang in Durham own three of the five total picks, with John Calipari and his crew in Lexington holding on — for now — to the other two.

Heck, even Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones chimed in with a tweeted Lively-to-Duke prediction on Friday evening. However, the chief Wildcats insider did leave himself the option to change that forecast before Monday evening arrives.

Meanwhile, it seems all the chatter out there supports the same observation: Lively has yet to inform any suitors of his selection.

Predicting another Duke basketball recruiting victory

Factor in the projected openings down low at Duke and Kentucky the season after next. Add in Dereck Lively’s ranking at No. 2 on the 247Sports 2022 Composite.

A starting job likely awaits the nimble 7-footer no matter which route he chooses.

Speaking of options, though, Lively hasn’t publicly cut any of his five other finalists: Florida State, Michigan, Penn State, Southern Cal, and UNC. On the other hand, maybe this paragraph is a waste of space, for it doesn’t appear as if any well-known insiders are giving any of those programs any chance.

Yes, based on the momentum in the Crystal Ball and FutureCast plus the momentum of Duke basketball head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer on the recruiting trail, the Blue Devils might well be in the driver’s seat.

Also, Lively would seem to mesh well with five-star power forward Kyle Filipowski, who has risen to No. 8 among high school seniors and became Scheyer’s first pledge in his new role back in late July. Despite some sites listing Filipowski at the five, the 6-foot-11, 230-pounder comes across as a sturdy stretch-four by trade. Conversely, Lively is more of a modern five for a high-octane attack.

Furthermore, consider that Filipowski seems to have been an enthusiastic Duke basketball recruiter on social media and behind the scenes. His efforts certainly didn’t hurt the Blue Devils in also snagging five-star small forward Dariq Whitehead and four-star shooting guard Jaden Schutt within the past two months.

ALSO READ: Dariq Whitehead sizzles in front of an NBA star

Now, barring any significant announcements elsewhere this weekend and assuming Lively dons either a Duke or Kentucky hat on Monday, the winner of the battle will rank No. 1 on the 247Sports 2022 Team Rankings. At the moment, Kentucky, UNC, and Duke comprise the tightly bunched top three, respectively.

While this confidence level at Ball Durham isn’t exactly through the roof, it aligns with the prediction here from early July for Duke’s entire class, which is looking pretty spot-on thus far (except for one extra prize that was unexpected at the time).

So we’re sticking with it.

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Final prediction: Dereck Lively to the Blue Devils.