Major developments in UNC-Duke basketball recruiting battle

Duke basketball (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball may be in a dead heat with its UNC basketball counterpart.

Months ago, the UNC basketball staff looked like the clear favorite to land Ridge View (S.C.) power forward GG Jackson, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound five-star who sits No. 8 on the 247Sports 2023 Composite. Then South Carolina emerged. But ever since the Gamecocks parted ways with head coach Frank Martin on Monday, the Duke basketball coaches seem to own the momentum train.

Earlier this month, Jackson revealed six finalists in his recruitment: Auburn, Duke, Georgetown, South Carolina, UNC, and the NBA G League.

Now, in the eyes of the 247Sports Crystal Ball, the Blue Devils are tied with the Tar Heels with two expert picks apiece. And it seems worth factoring in that Jackson himself retweeted a tweet, courtesy of Heat Check, reporting the two newest entered predictions this week — both in favor of Duke.

Plus, Jackson confirmed to 247Sports recruiting insider Travis Branham that Martin’s dismissal at South Carolina is impactful (the program has yet to name his replacement):

“This definitely has an effect because he recruited me as a coach and is close with my family.”

Meanwhile, Jackson told Branham his timetable for a decision is shifting a smidge. He’s now eyeing an announcement at some point in April after initially planning to do so during March Madness.

The quiet contender and a possible Duke basketball handicap

Considering GG Jackson’s chiseled frame, polished game, and aggressive play, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he views himself as more than ready for college or perhaps even pro ball. Here’s what Joe Tipton of On3 noted about that:

“Jackson has been rumored to be a potential reclass candidate, although that decision hasn’t been yet made. However, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him make the move to 2022. The G League Ignite team is also in the mix…The extent of their involvement is currently unknown as the G-League tends to lurk in the shadows, but I would expect them to be right there in the end.”

Duke enjoys two early 2023 commits: Windermere (Fla.) four-star power forward Sean Stewart and Oak Hill (Va.) five-star point guard Caleb Foster.

At least in terms of available minutes, that 2023 haul must currently be more appealing to five-star talents than the 2022 collection. After all, the Blue Devils boast six pledges among current high school seniors, including three of the top five prospects on the 247Sports 2022 Composite.

GG Jackson could have to vie for minutes against all three of those prizes: Westtown (Pa.) five-star center Dereck Lively II, Wilbraham & Monson (Mass.) five-star power forward Kyle Filipowski, and Montverde (Fla.) five-star small forward Dariq Whitehead. Therefore, should he reclass to 2022, one would think the Blue Devils will encounter a significant obstacle.

Of course, given all the Duke basketball recruiting successes under head coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer, meer playing-time hurdles might not be enough to stop this Blue Devil locomotive.

Next. Ranking Coach K's first 40 Duke teams. dark

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting news and views.