Duke basketball likely to secure potential No. 1 prep

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

A top-three prize should be in store for the Duke basketball recruiters.

Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) small forward Mackenzie Mgbako will announce his college decision at 9 p.m. ET Friday, about an hour before playing for the World Team against the USA Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in Oregon. And as of Friday morning, all seven 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, including three new ones this week, point to the Duke basketball staff coming out on top.

Over at Rivals, the FutureCast concurs, with all four experts picking the Blue Devils. Meanwhile, the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine gives Duke a 93.2 percent probability to snag the Mgbako commitment.

With so much chatter favoring the Blue Devils this week, it’s conceivable that Mgbako has already pledged his allegiance to Duke head coach Jon Scheyer and has just been waiting for a primetime moment to reveal his choice publicly. Several of the program’s prior 2023 pledges have been openly trying to finalize the high-profile sweepstakes on social media.

The 6-foot-8, 200-pound five-star — whose father is Nigerian and mother is Haitian — recently named four finalists in his recruitment: Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, and Ohio State. Mgbako took official visits to Duke, Kentucky, and Memphis back in the fall.

A top-ranked Duke basketball commit?

No disrespect to DJ Wagner or KJ Evans — No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among high school juniors — but one would be hard-pressed to find a recruiting analyst who outright dismisses Mackenzie Mgbako’s chances at leapfrogging to No. 1 before the cycle is complete. After all, he has risen from No. 11 to No. 3 on the 247Sports 2023 Composite within the past year.

Here’s a brief assessment via Eric Bossi of 247Sports:

“Mgbako fits the current style of basketball. He can stretch defenses some with his shooting, has a low-post game, and is the inside/outside threat that most are looking for in an effort to play a more free-flowing and position-less style of basketball.”

In a few past interviews, Mgbako noted that he models his game after former Duke basketball one-and-done and current Boston Celtics star forward Jayson Tatum.

Following the announcement on Thursday evening from NBA Global Academy (Australia) five-star point guard Tyrese Proctor, the Blue Devils now enjoy four heralded prizes from the 2023 class. The other three are Oak Hill (Va.) five-star point guard Caleb Foster, Centennial (Calif.) five-star shooting guard Jared McCain, and Windermere (Fla.) four-star power forward Sean Stewart.

All four of these prospects rank inside the top 30 among their peers. So it’s no surprise that the haul stands firmly atop the 247Sports 2023 Team Rankings (Duke also boasts the unequaled collection in 2022).

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