Duke basketball recruiting: LeBron James Jr. sees stock slide

Duke basketball recruiting prospect LeBron James Jr. (Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal)
Duke basketball recruiting prospect LeBron James Jr. (Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal) /

Any past Duke basketball interest in LeBron James Jr. might now have waned.

This week, 247Sports updated its 2023 Top Basketball Recruits and expanded the rankings from 75 to 150. In doing so, the site significantly dinged a potential Duke basketball target who remains the most recognizable name in the class, Sierra Canyon (Calif.) combo guard LeBron James Jr., aka Bronny James.

James fell 25 spots to No. 52 overall. As a result, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound solid four-star no longer looks to be on the verge of a five-star rating, although he only slid from No. 29 to No. 38 overall on the 247Sports 2023 Composite.

In fairness to James, though, it’s worth mentioning that the dip in the rankings is likely due in part to his missing a chunk of his sophomore year while recovering from February knee surgery.

Rewind to his earliest teenage years. At that time, reports circulated of LeBron James Jr. receiving an offer from the Duke Blue Devils, more specifically from Mike Krzyzewski, who coached LeBron James during Team USA’s gold-medal runs at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Even ESPN noted the offer, for a long while, on the now-17-year-old prospect’s profile page — but has since deleted it.

Nevertheless, ESPN.com, 247Sports, and Rivals all continue to show Duke as one of a handful of “top interests” for James — along with the likes of Kansas, Kentucky, and UNC — despite no recent mentions of staff visits, calls, and whatnot.

Furthermore, while likely meaningless at this point in the James sweepstakes, the lone 247Sports Crystal Ball pick, which is now almost three years old, still favors the Blue Devils.

Other movers on the 2023 Duke basketball recruiting radar

As things stand, LeBron James Jr. may never land a Duke basketball recruiting offer because of the program’s recent 2023 backcourt commitment. That early prize is Oak Hill (Va.) point guard Caleb Foster, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound five-star and longtime Blue Devil fan who originally hails from North Carolina.

Opposite to James, Foster’s ranking is now on the rise. He climbed this week from No. 19 to No. 12 on the 247Sports 2023 Top Basketball Recruits and No. 12 to No. 9 on the 247Sports 2023 Composite.

Meanwhile, two of the three high school juniors who are currently weighing offers from the Duke Blue Devils saw an increase on the 247Sports 2023 Composite as well. They are Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) small forward Mackenzie Mgbako, who jumped one notch to No. 3, and Ridge View (S.C.) power forward Gregory Jackson, who rose six notches to No. 10 overall.

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As for the other reported offer-holder, Kenwood (Ill.) small forward JJ Taylor slid a smidge from No. 3 to No. 5.