Duke basketball could force Tar Heel tears in major recruiting race

Duke basketball at UNC (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball at UNC (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball isn’t backing down for one predicted UNC basketball commit.

Every member of the UNC basketball staff was in attendance at the Las Vegas Tarkanian Classic on Friday night to watch Ridge View (S.C.) junior GG Jackson. Meanwhile, the 247Sports Crystal Ball still shows the Tar Heels as the outright leader in his recruitment. But as Travis Branham of 247Sports implied after talking to the aggressive power forward, Duke basketball remains active.

Plus, the race still appears to be in a relatively early stage.

And Jackson, a 6-foot-9, 205-pound five-star who ranks No. 10 overall on the 247Sports 2023 Composite, told Branham he now has a scheduled official visit to Duke for the weekend of Jan. 21.

That can’t hurt, especially when taking into account Blue Devil head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer’s penchant for turning visits into commitments nowadays. As a reminder, before even fully taking over the reins, the 34-year-old recruiting wizard has reeled in a six-deep, top-ranked 2022 haul and has done so despite handing out only eight offers to the class.

In other words, when Scheyer exhibits significant interest in a high-profile recruiting battle, well, it would seem wise not to count him out.

A weapon Duke basketball would surely prefer to avoid having to defend

One could say that GG Jackson’s sharp instincts and light-footed style around the basket make him resemble the type of UNC basketball forward who has often given Duke nightmares over the years. Antawn Jamison immediately comes to mind when checking out Jackson’s highlights, except Jackson displays more of a complete perimeter skillset at this stage in his development:

Therefore, Jon Scheyer and his gang must be thinking that the most effective way to steer clear of falling victim to such impactful performances is to have the performer on their side. Simple as that.

According to Travis Branham, who presented a case for GG Jackson as the potential No. 1 prospect among his peers, other notable programs giving chase are Georgetown, South Carolina, and Virginia. However, when it comes to official visits, his only one to date was to UNC, and his only scheduled one at this juncture is to Duke.

dark. Next. Predicting the 2023 Duke basketball recruiting class

Thus far, the Duke Blue Devils have snagged one early 2023 pledge in Oak Hill (Va.) five-star point guard Caleb Foster. Yet rumors continue to swirl about Foster possibly reclassing to 2022 and joining what could become a historically loaded bunch.