Duke basketball: Forecasting the Mark Mitchell decision

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

Will the Duke basketball staff tack on Mark Mitchell to an unmatched class?

The Duke basketball program remains the frontrunner for Sunrise Christian (Kan.) senior small forward Mark Mitchell in the eyes of the 247Sports Crystal Ball, with four of the five entered picks in agreement. And two of the three forecasts in the Rivals FutureCast share that same vision.

But remember, when deciphering the crystal-gazing in the homestretch of a high-profile recruiting race, things aren’t always as they seem at first glance. That may be the case right now regarding Mitchell, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound five-star who ranks No. 15 overall on the 247Sports 2022 Composite.

Months ago, Mark Mitchell named four finalists: Duke, Kansas, Missouri, and UCLA. However, according to seemingly every insider out there, he is now choosing between only three: Duke, Missouri, and UCLA.

Then last week, Mitchell hinted again at his plan to announce his decision in December. Even so, he still hasn’t publicly set a date, and perhaps he’ll instead reveal the winner on social media at some random time in the coming days or weeks before New Year’s arrives.

A deeper look at Duke basketball’s chances

Especially toward the end of a heralded prospect’s recruitment, it’s always important to note the recency of the various experts’ predictions. In this instance, it seems UCLA could be the school to beat for Mark Mitchell’s services — including but not limited to his smooth shooting stroke, ambidextrous slashing ability, and ball-hawking defense via go-go-gadget limbs.

Each UCLA pick also happens to be the most recent at 247Sports and Rivals. Consider that the one at Rivals popped up just a few days ago and from a leading insider in Dan McDonald.

Meanwhile, the Duke basketball coaches looked active in the battle by attending one of Mitchell’s most recent games. So one would assume they’re optimistic enough to continue investing their time at this stage.

On the other hand, there looks to potentially be considerable top-shelf talent in store for next season’s Blue Devils at or near Mitchell’s position. A notable one is Duke’s second 2022 commit, Montverde (Fla.) five-star small forward Dariq Whitehead, who sits No. 4 on the 247Sports 2022 Composite and is part of a four-deep class that ranks No. 1 on the 247Sports Team Rankings.

Also, it’s impossible to know for sure which Duke basketball weapons will return after this season.

ALSO READ: 6 Blue Devils who could turn pro early

Therefore, the final push from the recruiters in Durham may involve a bit of wishful thinking. After all, as the Bruins buzz appears to grow, keep in mind that Mark Mitchell has repeatedly mentioned his older brother lives in Los Angeles.

Next. Predicting every Duke win and loss this season. dark

Putting it all together, the final prediction from Ball Durham is that the Duke Blue Devils lose out on Mark Mitchell — whenever the moment arrives this month — at the hands of UCLA.