Duke Basketball: Analyzing Blue Devils incoming 2021 recruiting class – Busting Brackets - Techy Hunters


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Duke Basketball: Analyzing Blue Devils incoming 2021 recruiting class – Busting Brackets

Duke Basketball once again has secured one of the top recruiting classes in college hoops.

For the ninth straight year, Mike Krzyzewski has secured a consensus top-10 recruiting class for the Duke Blue Devils. This year’s class features three 5-star recruits along with a 4-star signee and two transfers — marking the second consecutive year that the Blue Devils have brought in at least one transfer. The Devils 2021 class is ranked fourth in the nation by both 247 Sports and Rivals. Meanwhile, ESPN had them at No. 3 on April 21.

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The 6-10, 250-pound post is a consensus top-3 recruit who is a potential top-5 draft pick in 2022. Banchero is far from a polished player but he has high-upside as he is very athletic and possesses great size along with strength. He is a three-level scorer who can create off the dribble. The O’Dea HS product is also a fantastic rebounder and defender. Banchero does need to work on his offensive game, both from the perimeter and on the interior.

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AJ Griffin Jr.,  White Plains (NY)

The 6-7 wing is a consensus top-30 recruit with Rivals and 247 Sports rating him as a five-star prospect while ESPN gave him 4-stars. Griffin, son of former NBA player Adrian Griffin, missed his high school senior campaign with an ankle injury. The 17-year-old  is also projected to be a lottery pick due to his athleticism and versatility, particularly on the defensive end, as well as his natural ability.

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Trevor Keels, Fairfax (VA)

The athletic consensus 5-star consensus top-22 player is a solid all-around player who can score on all three levels. He is also a solid ball-handler and passer. The 6-5 combo guard produced averaged 28.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.8 steals a game for Pope Paul VI Catholic this past season.

“Trevor does a little bit of everything; his versatility is amazing,” Keels’ high school coach Glenn Farello told NBC. “He does a great job of recognizing what needs to be done and he goes out and gets it accomplished. Whether it’s on the defensive end, getting a rebound on the backside, leading the break, finding a teammate or even when he needs to step up and go be a playmaker — get to the rim or knock down a three-point shot — it always seems like Trevor finds a way to make a big play in a big moment. That’s what he’s done for us for three years now.”

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Jaylen Blakes, Somerset (NJ)

The 6-2 combo guard is a 3+star recruit. Here is what Rivals recruiting coordinator Rob Cassidy said about the Blair Academy product.

The 6-foot-2 Blakes comes with deceptive length because of his long arms (a 6-foot-8 wingspan), and his coaches rave about his IQ, toughness and mentality. But while people like to point to the hard-nosed guard’s intangibles as his defining traits, there’s plenty of skill at work as well. He boasts a pretty consistent pull-up jumper that comes with some range and is capable of playing both spots in the backcourt. He handles the ball relatively well and is capable of playing with breakneck speed without seeming out of control. Blakes also has a knack for finishing through contact. He’ll need to get a bit more consistent in the midrange and when it comes to facilitating, but the well-rounded guard certainly has the skill set to make a massive impact on the ACC down the road.

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Bates Jones, Charlotte (NC)

The 6-8 forward has transferred from Davidson where he averaged 2.4 points and 2.6 boards over 13 minutes a game this past season. He plays hard, is a decent defensive rebounder, and has the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting. Jones’ brother is New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

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Theo John, Minneapolis (MN)

The 6-9, 245-pound forward, a grad transfer from Marquette, is an athletic physical specimen who can protect the rim and score around the rim. John also hits the offensive boards hard. However, he is an average to below-average rebounder and a poor free-throw shooter. The former 3+ star recruit is coming off the best offensive of his collegiate career in 2021, averaging 8.0 points along with 5.0 boards and 1.5 blocks.

Bottom line: It is no wonder Duke got high marks for this recruiting class with one stud (Banchero) and two players that should be major contributors immediately. Banchero is going to be a nightmare for opposing big men and could possibly be a national player of the year candidate or at least in the running for freshman of the year.

Griffin, who is healthy, will likely start and be a major contributor right away, even if he struggles initially on the offensive end his defense will be stellar from day 1. Keels will also have a key role, instant offense, whether off the bench or if inserted in the starting lineup.

I don’t expect Jones or Blakes (this year at least) to contribute much but John gives the Devils an experienced defensive presence on the interior as well as a mentor to Mark Williams and Banchero. A+

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