Duke basketball: The one 5-star recruit the Blue Devils can’t afford to lose

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball can’t afford to swing and miss on Patrick Baldwin, Jr.

NCAA basketball fans are used to seeing Duke basketball at or near the top of the recruiting class rankings every year. This year will be no exception as the Blue Devils look to put together another class that could lead the Coach K and Duke back to the Final Four and ultimately winning another national championship.

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It’s still early in the 2021 recruiting process, but Duke basketball already has one five-star recruit locked up with No. 7 recruit AJ Griffin giving the Blue Devils his verbal commitment. With Griffin in the fold, Duke has the nation’s No. 13 overall recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Team Rankings.

Naturally, Duke basketball will finish much higher when all the recruits sign their letters of intent, but if the Blue Devils are able to land their biggest fish in the 2021 pond, it might be enough for Coach K’s team to cut the nets down.

Duke basketball recruiting is always reeling in some of the top players annually, but who is the one five-star recruit the Blue Devils can’t lose in 2021?

While Duke basketball already has one small forward with Griffin, they could use another and that’s why Patrick Baldwin Jr. is the can’t miss five-star recruit for the Duke Blue Devils to add to the 2021 recruiting class.

Baldwin is the son of UW-Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin and is the No. 3 overall recruit per the 247Sports Composite Rankings and could be a future Player of the Year and top-five NBA Draft pick.

The 6-foot-9 Baldwin can play the 3 or the 4 to co-exist with Griffin at Duke. Coach K has figured out how to manage minutes for similar players at the same position, especially three-and-d type players like Baldwin projects to be.

He’s got great size, skill and athleticism for the position and he’s only getting better. As the son of a coach, his basketball IQ is as good as you’ll see from a player who is still several months away from beginning his senior season of high school hoops.

In short, he’s got a really high ceiling.

Baldwin’s ability to hit the 3-point shot and defend players his size or a little smaller makes him valuable on both ends of the court and that’s part of the reason why he’s such a coveted recruit and why he’d fit in so well at Duke.

Programs like Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan, among others are going to be in pursuit of Baldwin, Jr. but it’s the Duke Blue Devils who stand out in front as the team to beat.

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