Confident predictions for Duke basketball recruiting race

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Both 2022 and 2023 Duke basketball recruiting efforts are looking dynamite.

With four heralded pledges in tow, the 2022 Duke basketball recruiting class is sweet as honey, sitting at No. 1 on the 247Sports 2022 Team Rankings. But due to some extremely early momentum on the 2023 trail, the next Blue Devil haul could turn out to be the bee’s knees.

Already, head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer and his gang have reeled in one 2023 commitment. It’s of the five-star variety in Oak Hill (Va.) point guard and lifelong Duke basketball enthusiast Caleb Foster. At No. 12 overall on the 247Sports 2023 Composite, he remains the only top 20 high school junior to have announced a college destination.

Meanwhile, the Duke Blue Devils appear to have taken a significant lead in their pursuit of Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) small forward Mackenzie Mgbako, a 2023 five-star who ranks No. 7 among his peers. He was in Durham the same weekend as Foster in early September.

Predictions beginning to stack up for the Duke basketball recruiting target

Currently, both the 247Sports Crystal Ball and Rivals FutureCast suggest Duke basketball fans should feel somewhat optimistic about the program’s chances of landing Mackenzie Mgbako. Six experts between the sites have entered predictions for the 6-foot-8, 185-pound lengthy sensation. They all point to him eventually choosing the Blue Devils.

The two most recent predictions for Mgbako at 247Sports come with “high” confidence levels. And the most recent one at Rivals is from respected insider Rob Cassidy, whose forecast this week included this encouraging explanation:

"“Mgbako has seemed like a Duke lean for months, as the five-star forward was incredibly high on the Blue Devils before the program even made things official with an offer in June. Since then, however, things have moved quickly.”"

Cassidy continued:

"“Mgbako expressed excitement over the upcoming Jon Scheyer Era during a mid-June interview with Rivals and took his official visit to Durham on Sept. 2. That trip seems to have galvanized the bond between [him] and the Blue Devil staff. So while Mgbako is yet to set a decision date, it’s going to require a strong and aggressive move by another school to beat out Scheyer.”"

Speaking of other schools, though, two Big Ten powers seem unfazed by Duke’s perceived advantage. On Friday, according to the Twitter account of recruiting insider Andrew Slater, Michigan extended an offer to Mgbako before he began an official visit to Ohio State.

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Duke also has 2023 offers on the table to two others: Kenwood (Ill.) five-star small forward JJ Taylor and Ridge View (S.C.) five-star power forward Greg Jackson. Plus, the staff is exhibiting significant recent interest in a four-star who is suddenly giving off five-star vibes: Brewster (N.H.) small forward Matas Buzelis.