Duke basketball gets chance to impress prime UNC target

Duke basketball could seize the lead for a recruit high on UNC’s wishlist.

In the eyes of the 247Sports Crystal Ball, the UNC basketball staff remains the pacesetter in its pursuit of Ridge View (S.C.) power forward GG Jackson. That said, the new On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine pegs the race as a dead heat right now between the Tar Heel coaches and their Duke basketball rival counterparts.

Either way, the Duke Blue Devils have an opportunity this weekend to wow the five-star junior and perhaps even gain a Crystal Ball pick or two in the process. Jackson, a 6-foot-8 ferocious playmaker who sits No. 10 on the 247Sports 2023 Composite and was among the first players in his class to receive a Duke offer back in June, will be in Durham for an official visit beginning Friday.

ALSO READ: Duke staff compares GG Jackson to Paolo Banchero

Now, the timing of Jackson’s trip seems pertinent since he has noted in recent weeks that he hopes to reveal finalists in February or March and might then decide on a winner as soon as this spring. Here’s how Rivals national recruiting insider Rob Cassidy recently assessed the recruitment:

“North Carolina feels like the favorite here, but Jackson’s long-standing relationship with [South Carolina head coach] Frank Martin and the Gamecocks shouldn’t be dismissed. Ruling Duke out of any recruiting battle seems unwise, but the Blue Devils have work to do. Those three should be viewed as the major players for the time being.”

A reasonably active Duke basketball recruiting weekend

GG Jackson isn’t the only top 10 prospect slated to be in town and presumably in attendance to watch the Blue Devils host the Syracuse Orange at noon ET Saturday. No, Duke head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer and his crew will also welcome the hottest name among current high school sophomores in Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) five-star small forward Naasir Cunningham.

ALSO READ: No. 1 recruit to visit the Blue Devils

With that in mind, the Duke recruiters must bring their A-game, which shouldn’t be an issue given their standing atop the 247Sports Team Rankings on both the 2022 and 2023 recruiting trails. Of course, it also wouldn’t hurt for the Blue Devils to pick up a W over Syracuse while Jackson and Cunningham are watching.

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on the GG Jackson sweepstakes plus other Duke basketball recruiting news and views.