Duke basketball interest in LeBron James Jr. is real

LeBron James Jr. reportedly has Duke basketball in his unofficial top four.

By staying mum about his recruitment, Sierra Canyon (Calif.) junior combo guard LeBron James Jr. — also known as Bronny James — has given recruiting insiders little help the past few years in speculating about his plans beyond high school. That said, there seems to be enough intel to safely infer the Duke basketball coaches are at least interested in the famous four-star prospect.

On Friday, Joe Tipton of On3 outlined what he has unearthed regarding the past and present status of the Bronny James sweepstakes, including a few words about the Duke Blue Devils:

“Back in 2016, ESPN reported that Bronny held ‘standing scholarships’ from both Kentucky and Duke. Mind you, Bronny was 11 years old at the time. On3 did some digging…The Blue Devils of Duke and the Wildcats of Kentucky have not offered Bronny a scholarship. But they are both, in fact, interested in the young, talented prospect.”

However, as Tipton noted, Eric Bossi of 247Sports reported earlier this month only four schools drawing James’ interest right now: Duke, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Texas. Meanwhile, a couple of high-major college coaches have implied to On3 that it’s next to impossible to gain direct contact with the 6-foot-3, 190-pound playmaker.

Why Duke basketball might like its potential chances

LeBron James Jr., who ranks No. 35 overall on the 247Sports 2023 Composite but still has zero listed offers on his 247Sports page, has donned Blue Devil gear in public on several occasions and has been on Duke’s campus at least once. That visit came in the summer of 2018 alongside his entire AAU team.

Now, consider that Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski plans to remain on-site with the Blue Devils beyond his retirement in the spring. With that in mind, his bond with NBA great LeBron James Sr. — from winning gold together in the Olympics when Coach K guided Team USA — may still help head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer’s chances should he ever officially pursue Bronny.

On the other hand, Joe Tipton made sure to remind folks of a 2018 Instagram comment from LeBron James himself: “Love Coach K!! The absolute BEST! Hope he’s still at the helm when my boy comes up.”

Again, he won’t be.

Duke basketball already boasts two 2023 commits in five-star point guard Caleb Foster and four-star power forward Sean Stewart.