Duke basketball recruiting: Intriguing 7-footer seeks Blue Devil attention

Duke basketball (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

An elite rim protector wants to hear from the Duke basketball coaches.

Duke basketball’s only current scholarship center, sophomore Mark Williams, is likely pro-bound after this season. As for the program’s 2022 post prizes, Dereck Lively II and Kyle Filipowski, their top-three national rankings point to one-and-done futures. That leaves Christian Reeves, an incoming three-star, as the only probable true big man on the 2023-24 roster as things stand.

Yes, Duke head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer and his staff already boast a 2023 commitment from Windermere (Fla.) four-star power forward Sean Stewart. But they have no offers on the table to centers in the class. With that in mind, it seems the Blue Devils ought to be on the lookout for quality ones on the 2023 recruiting trail.

Well, per a tweet this week from Pro Insight recruiting insider Andrew Slater, at least one giant among high school juniors hopes to attract Duke interest: Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) center Ugonna Kingsley. The agile 7-footer also mentioned Kentucky and Arizona as preferred suitors.

Praise popping up for the potential Duke basketball recruiting prospect

Ugonna Kingsley does not appear on the 247Sports 2023 Composite. That said, he ranks No. 87 on the 2023 Rivals 150 — with a four-star rating — despite just arriving at Putnam from the NBA Academy Africa in Senegal less than two months ago.

And Kingsley’s recent prowess in the paint for the 36-0 Mustangs, a perennial prep powerhouse, screams for more scouts to begin taking notice of his top-shelf length and developing post skills. His latest box score nearly constituted a triple-double: nine points, ten rebounds, and ten blocks. The one before that wasn’t half bad either: 14 points, ten rebounds, and five blocks.

Here’s an assessment of Kingsley’s blossoming game from On3 recruiting analyst Jamie Shaw:

"“You immediately see the size, length, and fluidity in the way Ugonna Kingsley moves. The hips are loose, the feet are quick, and the leaping is explosive. On the defensive end, he is a natural. The timing is excellent at the rim and in the passing lanes. He can also fluidly move his feet when he switches onto a perimeter player. His defense is ahead of his offense at this point.”"

At the moment, according to Rivals, Ugonna Kingsley holds almost a dozen offers, including from the likes of Clemson, Georgetown, and Texas Tech.

Next. Major Duke target making noise. dark

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