Duke basketball now has the country’s No. 1 recruit

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Once again, the Duke basketball recruiting team boasts a top-ranked pledge.

There is a new No. 1 on the 247Sports 2022 Composite. And should Westtown (Pa.) five-star center Dereck Lively remain there until he arrives in Durham, well, he would become the fourth Duke basketball recruit to do so in the 247Sports Composite’s existence.

The other three were from the past decade: Jahlil Okafor in 2014, Marvin Bagley III in 2017, and RJ Barrett in 2018.

How the Duke basketball recruiting prize reached the top spot

Dereck Lively’s move into the top position came via the former No. 1, five-star shooting guard Shaedon Sharpe, deciding to enroll as a Kentucky basketball player for the upcoming second semester. Subsequently, the Wildcat is opting to redshirt this season, making himself a 2021 recruit, technically, while getting a headstart on learning the ropes in Lexington.

Sharpe now slots at No. 3 on the 247Sports 2021 Composite, one notch below the man who helped topple his future team, 79-71, on Tuesday night: Duke basketball freshman power forward Paolo Banchero.

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Another effect of Sharpe’s reclass is that the Blue Devil class rose back to No. 1 on the 247Sports 2022 Team Rankings.

Meanwhile, former No. 1 Kentucky fell to No. 8 for 2022 but jumped to No. 2 for 2021. Then that knocked the Blue Devils down to No. 6 for 2021, a ranking that now seems silly considering the 47 combined points from Banchero and fellow Duke rookie Trevor Keels in their debut.

If the 2022 Duke basketball haul finishes where it sits now, well, it would mark the Blue Devils’  fifth No. 1 collection since 2014 but the first since 2018.

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Currently, the four projected Duke signees during this ongoing early period are the 7-foot-1, 220-pound Dereck Lively, five-star small forward Dariq Whitehead (now ranks No. 4), five-star power forward Kyle Filipowski (No. 7), and four-star shooting guard Jaden Schutt (No. 55).