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Duke basketball might need its greatest superteam ever in 2025

Duke men’s basketball hasn’t just maintained its elite recruiting pull since legedary head coach Mike Krzyzewski finally retired in 2022 — it’s arguably gotten even better. New head coach Jon Scheyer landed the country’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2023, his first year on the job, with a haul led by three top-five prospects in

Duke basketball might need its greatest superteam ever in 2025

Duke males’s basketball hasn’t simply maintained its elite recruiting pull since legedary head coach Mike Krzyzewski lastly retired in 2022 — it’s arguably gotten even higher. New head coach Jon Scheyer landed the country’s No. 1 recruiting class in 2023, his first 12 months on the job, with a haul led by three top-five prospects within the nation in Kyle Filipowski, Dereck Vigorous, and Dariq Whitehead. His 2024 recruiting class led by Jared McCain and Caleb Foster finished No. 2 in the country, solely behind Kentucky.

As he approaches his third 12 months on the job, Scheyer has his greatest class but. Duke’s 2025 recruiting class is so spectacular there’s an argument that it’s top-of-the-line within the fashionable historical past of the game.

Khaman Maluach, a 7’2 middle from South Sudan creating in NBA Academy Africa, committed to the Duke on Wednesday to fortify its historic recruiting haul. Maluach’s mixture of elite dimension and power, spectacular mobility, and burgeoning ability stage will make him a front-runner to be chosen No. 2 general in 2025 NBA Draft … solely behind future Duke teammate Cooper Flagg.

Duke’s 2025 recruiting haul doesn’t end there. The Blue Devils even have commitments from No. 12 general participant 6’6 wing Isaiah Evans (No. 12 general, per 247 Sports activities), 6’5 shooter Kon Knueppel (No. 17 general), 6’11 massive man Patrick Ngongba (No. 18 general), and 6’6 wing Derren Harris (No. 50 general). Whereas Maluach isn’t positioned in rankings as a global prospect, he’s extensively thought of a top-five participant within the class. That primarily provides Duke 5 top-20 incoming freshman, plus one other top-50 participant.

The final Duke crew with this a lot future NBA starpower was the 2018 crew that featured Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones. While you issue within the superior depth of the incoming 2025 class, there’s a case to be made that Scheyer simply put collectively a recruiting class higher than something Coach Ok ever assembled.

The Flagg-Maluach entrance line goes to be absurdly gifted. We ranked Flagg as the best NBA prospect in high school basketball regardless of class this summer, and because the second-best Duke recruit ever. A 6’9 ahead with a 7-foot wingspan, Flagg is a dominant defensive ahead with a terrifying mixture of athleticism, motor, and really feel for the sport. His offensive continues to develop properly, displaying good contact on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the power to assault the rim off the dribble, and make some implausible passing reads. Flagg could be the little doubt No. 1 general decide within the 2024 NBA Draft if he might enter out of highschool. As an alternative, he’ll be a Duke one-and-done phenom on the extent of Zion. Whereas he’s not a Victor Wembanyama-caliber NBA expertise, he solely a minimize beneath.

Maluach has solely been enjoying basketball for 5 years, however already has an superior resume constructing. He first gained main notoriety enjoying for South Sudan within the 2023 FIBA World Cup as a 16-year-old, serving to his nation qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. He’s additionally been named MVP of Basketball With out Borders and placed on a formidable displaying throughout a prospect run at NBA All-Star Weekend final month.

Maluach ought to nonetheless be considered a long-term prospect, however his instruments are unimaginable. He’s going to be a bully inside with extensive shoulders and a powerful body. He’s impossibly lengthy, with a reported 9’8 standing reach that’s an inch longer than Wembanyama’s. He has a assured if nonetheless creating three-point stroke, and he seems comfy making choices as a passer. His protection needs to be forward of his offense as a freshman at Duke, the place he can influence the sport as a rim protector and shot blocker just by being enormous and in a position to take up contact.

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After we launch our first 2025 NBA mock draft this summer season, Flagg can be No. 1 and Maluach will seemingly be No. 2. Evans can also be monitoring as a lottery decide proper now as a 6’6 wing with large defensive depth and contact shot-making skill. That doesn’t even think about Duke’s returning gamers.

The Blue Devils nonetheless have an opportunity to win the ACC this 12 months. They are tracking as a No. 3 seed in our latest bracketology projection. Filipowski and McCain will each seemingly declare for the draft, and we have each of them as top-15 picks right now. The scary factor is that it’s attainable the remainder of an important rotation items return. Guard Tyrese Proctor hasn’t blown up like anticipated, and may select yet another 12 months at school. Freshman ahead Sean Stewart has been large recently as a defensive chaos engine, and might be in a significant breakout as a sophomore:

Sean Stewart: particular vertical athlete with fast response time, performs exhausting as hell, expert with good intermediate contact and a few passing chops, and he is getting higher game-by-game. Duke has one other rotation piece for this season, and probably a program-setter transferring ahead

— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) March 5, 2024

A 12 months in the past, the highest NBA prospects in highschool elected to play for the NBA’s G League Ignite as an alternative of enjoying school basketball. The Ignite had a dreadful 12 months, and it’s exhausting to say that Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland improved their inventory. After Adam Silver’s cryptic comments as the Ignite’s future at All-Star weekend, Maluach picked Duke over the Ignite. It certain looks as if the Ignite’s future is in jeopardy, and the large boys of school basketball are benefitting. Silver is, in fact, a Duke alum.

Scheyer isn’t the one one doing the recruiting. Duke quietly made an incredible rent in 2022 by naming Rachel Baker as the program’s general manager. Baker was one of many prime individuals concerned in Nike’s EYBL grassroots circuit earlier than taking the job, and has extra connections to elite recruits than simply about anybody. Duke is the flagship Nike school basketball college, and Nike has an enormous quantity of energy. None of this can be a fluke.

It’s going to a tricky 12 months forward for Duke haters, however in actuality this crew is so gifted that it’s going to have championship-or-bust expectations positioned on them instantly. Flagg is that good of a participant, Maluach is that tantalizing of a expertise, and the supporting forged can be glorious. Coach Ok could also be gone, however Duke remains to be Duke.

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