While it seems like the sports world is on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak, one thing remains the same, that being Duke Basketball never stops.
The Blue Devils men's basketball staff has been active throughout the process of seeking to get back to normal in that they have been active on the recruiting trail.
Duke sent out its first offer in the class of 2022 to Canadian Caleb Houstan who hails from Mississauga, Ontario which is just outside of Toronto. If that sounds familiar it is because that is where former Duke standout and current New York Knick R.J. Barrett is from.
The Duke staff led by head coach Mike Kzyzewski have been able to contact players since June 15th and we can expect to see more offers in the coming days.
Houstan who is known for his good footwork on the court may have gotten that from playing soccer. During the FIBA games for under 16 players, Houstan averaged just under 23 points per outing to go with five boards where he helped lead Canada to the Silver Medal.
Houstan has supposedly grown an inch and is no 6-8 and there is one other thing to keep an eye on here. Houstan may look into entering the class of 2021 when the dust clears on the summer, so stay tuned for more on that.
A sleek scorer, Houstan has the attention of many schools to date but the Blue Devils have made their move here to enter the fray.
Patrick Tape, a transfer from Columbia, has one year of eligibility left, and he chose to use it by playing for the Duke Blue Devils.
Tape averaged 11.3 ppg to go with 5.9 rebounds and 1 block per game for Columbia. He stands 6-10, 230 pounds will give the Blue Devils some depth in the post position.
Proximity played a role in his decision, where Tape is from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tape spoke with ESPN saying, "It was really just being close to home and having my family come see me, the excellent tradition they have there, and the opportunity to play for the best coach of all time,"
Duke is expected to lose Vernon Carey Jr. to the NBA and is already down two frontcourt players due to graduation in Jack White and Javin DeLaurier.
The word on Tape is that he developed into a solid post presence and rim protector. He is aggressive and physical but rarely if ever shoots from the perimeter.
The Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team will entertain two prospects and two verbal commitments when they take on arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels tomorrow night in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
One of the visitors is 2021 shooting guard Trevor Keels (Paul VI, Va.) whom Duke offered this past December. He impressed Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski during the Hoophall Classic where he blew up in the rankings after his overall performance in the event.
If Keels high school sounds familiar it's because Duke commitment Jeremy Roach attends the same school. Roach will be making the trip to Durham where he'll take in the atmosphere as Duke will celebrate their annual senior day and the last game in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the 2019-20 season.
Another player who will arrive on campus next season will be coming in from West Virginia. The Blue Devils will welcome 6-8 forward Jaemyn Brakefield who plays for Huntington Prep.
Also in attendance will be 2022 Durham Academy prospect MJ Rice. This would mark the second straight game where he will have been behind the Duke bench.
The Duke Blue Devils entertained elite prospect, Patrick Baldwin Jr., during yesterday's in over Virginia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Baldwin is one of the best players in the Class of 2021 and he has long drawn the attention of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Now standing 6-10, Baldin is skilled beyond his years and smooth even when facing triple teams at the high school level Baldwin has become coach's dream.
The rising star has ties to Northwestern where his Dad was dubbed, the "Man of Steel." This, of course, has made him a major target for former Duke player and assistant coach Chris Collins.
As it turns out, his Pops, also named Pat, captained three Northwestern teams in the early nineties. He stood 6-1 and he met Parick's mom, Shawn, a volleyball star who was 6-2.
The result of their union is their son Patrick, one of the more versatile players in the country which has earned him a place with the nation's top tier prospects.
His Dad has gone on to coach UW-Milwaukee after stints at Loyola and Northwestern. So, there is some pull to stay with the family.
But the Baldwins know that playing under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke is a great opportunity, thus this weekend visit took place. And make no mistake about it, he is a major priority for the Blue Devils staff which feels he falls right in line with stretch fours past and more.
Growing up in a coach's family makes him an ideal fit for Duke. He is their type of prospect. He has a solid basketball I.Q. and works hard to better his skills while on his journey.
Another thing which could bode well for the Blue Devils is his friendship with Max Christie. Duke has long been on both these guys and wants them as part of the cornerstone for their next great class.
Duke has had tremendous success in getting players to the NBA without holding them back or trying to keep them in the program. This is another area that makes their offer a coveted one.
And it goes without saying that Patrick has been an early part of the USA Basketball program and the Blue Devils have the man who steadied the machine after it took a step back.
With the Northwestern lineage in the family, there is little doubt, Patrick, values education. But it is no secret that this young man will make his initial money playing basketball professionally.
Duke offers him the best of both worlds with hoops and education, but other schools are still trying to get in the picture before it is too late.
Kentucky and many others have kicked the wheels on Baldwin, but this one may come down to playing with family or in a familiar situation like Northwestern or Duke.
Baldwin has also visited North Carolina and Roy Williams has been up to see him. And of course, Marquette, Wisconsin and a bevy of other schools have offered.
Baldwin could make an impact no matter where he goes to school. But if his dream is to possibly play for a national title, Duke may in time be his choice.
Baldwin once visited the Duke Basketball Camp, so he has some familiarity with the campus and program. The staff surely showed off some of the nation's finest facilities during his weekend visit while making him aware that he is a major piece of the future should he come to Durham.
While Cameron may not have been its usual raucous self due to an early knockout punch of Virginia Tech yesterday, the Crazies did call the budding star over to sit with them, or to be technically correct, stand with them.
Baldwin, like other stellar prospects before him, caught Coach K's eyes early on. As good as he is, Baldwin is only scratching the surface of what he will become in college and one day, the NBA.
One thing that's clear is Krzyzewski and his staff desire to work with Baldwin and help him while being a part of his journey. Stay tuned for more on this developing story.
Duke commitment DJ Steward scored a game-high 40 points leading Whitney Young to a 66-64 win over St. Louis Christian Brothers College High during a high profile matchup in Chicago this past Saturday. Caleb Love who is headed to rival North Carolina tallied 19 points in the loss.
The Duke Men's Basketball staff has been busy during the break between games. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his assistant coaches have been on the road to visit both commitments and prospects at various high school basketball events.
There is a lot to unpack here. The Blue Devils crew most recently visited the National High School Hoops Festival where they were taking a look at next years, incoming point guard, Jeremy Roach.
Roach had been sidelined since a season ago due to injury, so there were many wanting to see his first few games this season and how he'd respond. Well, the good news for Duke fans is he is showing off his high ranking and that he is back to being the type of player who gained a Duke offer.
What many did not expect to see was the stellar play of his Paul VI teammate, Trevor Keels. The 6-5 junior shooting guard from Fairfax, Virginia put on a show in front of Krzyzewski and that led to the latest Duke offer.
The Duke staff was also pleased with the play of IMG Academy's Mark Williams. The future Blue Devils big man showed off an improved game from this summer as he steadily gets better. Williams team, minus his teammate and fellow Duke commitment Jalen Johnson lost to Paul VI in a hotly contested game.
The improvement of Williams has drawn attention as he could now be a candidate for being one and done at the college level. And that had something to do with another recent Duke offer to Canadian junior, Charles Bediako.
Standing at 6-10, Bediako could possibly reclassify per some. But regardless of whether he enters the class of 2020 or remains a 2021 prospect, the Duke staff liked what they saw from the talented and potential laden Bediako. Duke has been determined to keep mining Canada for basketball prospects after their turn with RJ Barrett.
Duke has also offered another highly ranked junior in point guard Kennedy Chandler on Tuesday of this week. Chandler has a long list of suitors which includes their rival just down the road. Chandler led Mokan Elite to a solid season on the Nike EYBL circuit.
The Blue Devils also have standing offers to Patrick Baldwin and Max Christie and there are good relations with both of these top-end prospects. Duke is also heavily in the mix for Johnathan Kuminga. And, of course, the Blue Devils have a verbal commitment from highly rated AJ Griffin.
Duke is likely not finished with new offers, but they are quickly identifying players they want to be a part of their future core group. The staff will be on the road in December for more high school basketball tournaments.
This is also the time of year when the staff will work on both some unofficial and official visits and perhaps even setting up in-home visits. So, when the fanbase is taking this long break between games, as usual, Duke Basketball never stops.
This year's team returns to the court on December the 19th to take on Wofford. With Louisville, Maryland and Michigan all losing, Duke, ranked 5th in the coaches poll, is poised to ascend in the rankings.