Duke basketball recruiting: LeBron James Jr. is heating up

Potential Duke basketball recruiting target LeBron James Jr. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Potential Duke basketball recruiting target LeBron James Jr. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

LeBron James Jr. is a budding star on the Duke basketball recruiting radar.

Sure, Sierra Canyon (Calif.) junior Lebron James Jr. — also known as Bronny James — boasts only a four-star rating and sits No. 34 overall on the 247Sports 2023 Composite. But the potential Duke basketball recruiting target recently rose four spots.

And by most accounts, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound combo guard’s frame and game are taking shape as the well-known namesake of a four-time NBA champion.

In a buzzer-beating 67-64 showcase win over previously unbeaten powerhouse Glenbard West (Ill.) in Chicago’s Wintrust Arena on Saturday, James finished with 18 points by shooting a red-hot 6-for-9 beyond the arc. The 17-year-old’s performance drew the following all-around praise from Pro Insight recruiting analyst Alex Brown:

“Bronny James was very impactful throughout the game on both ends…distributing the ball with poise, maturity, and confidence against the Glenbard zone. His mechanics looked impeccable from deep, and his feel for the game on both ends is at such a high level right now.”

Brown continued:

“Defensively, he does a great job using his length and anticipation to make an impact on and off the ball, generating deflections and turnovers…His mental presence was impressive as well, and all that time under the limelight seems to make him unfazed by the pressure of playing in front of rappers, Bulls stars, and a deafening opposing fanbase.”

Will Duke basketball ever officially pursue LeBron James Jr.?

There’s no word yet of a Duke offer in the hands of LeBron James Jr.; however, On3 recruiting insider Joe Tipton reported in late December that his sources had confirmed significant interest from the Blue Devils.

RELATED: Blue Devil interest in Bronny James is real

James, who visited the campus in Durham alongside AAU teammates in 2018, has donned Duke threads in public several times over the past few years. Meanwhile, his famous father has given occasional shoutouts to the program after winning two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012) under former Team USA chief Mike Krzyzewski, now in his final year as the Blue Devil head coach.

At this early stage on the 2023 recruiting trail, Duke holds the nation’s No. 1 class with two pledges in tow: five-star point guard Caleb Foster and four-star power forward Sean Stewart.

Blue Devil head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer and his crew have offers out to seven 2023 recruits: five-star shooting guard Jared Mccain, international combo guard Tyrese Proctor, four-star small forward Taylor Bowen, five-star small forward Matas Buzelis, five-star small forward JJ Taylor, five-star small forward Mackenzie Mgbako, and five-star power forward GG Jackson.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on the Blue Devils’ potential pursuit of LeBron James Jr., plus other Duke basketball recruiting news and views.