Dereck Lively II (Westown HS, PA) has been on the Duke radar since before people knew Jon Scheyer would take over the program and Mike Krzyzewski would retire. Standing in at a long 7-1, Lively soared up the rankings this past season and some feel is the best prospect in the nation.
Duke has plenty of competition with North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan involved, but it is thought that Lively thinks a lot of the Blue Devils and what they have to offer.
The Blue Devils will be fresh off a visit with combo guard JJ Starling who balls for Albany City Rocks on the EYBL circuit. In fact, this staff is very busy with not only next year's class but the one beyond where they intend to prove Duke Basketball Never Stops regardless of who is in charge.
Lively has long been at the top of the Blue Devils wish list where Duke hopes he will join Kyle Filipowski, Jaden Schutt, and the first prospect to verbally commit in Dariq Whitehead.
Duke will be showing off their presentation with Jon Scheyer, flanked by assistants Chris Carrawell, Nolan Smith, and possibly Amile Jefferson who is on staff and expected to be promoted in the off-season.
The reason for the staff's excitement with Lively is that he is talented now but has tremendous upside as a player. The Belfonte, Pennsylvania native loves playing in the post where he flourishes but he is expanding his game daily with added perimeter skills.
Many feel as I do that this could be another Duke-Kentucky battle. Oh to be a fly on the wall as Calipari will pitch Scheyer has not proven himself on the court yet. On the other side, the ever-confident Scheyer will be putting those worries to rest with a focused vision where he seems more than ready and young enough to master the new NIL situation. Just today, Paolo Banchero inked a lucrative deal and a prospect like Lively will be set up to follow in his footsteps.
The Blue Devils have other visits set which we discuss in the member's forum, but this one is important and will be in the limelight for a bit. I will tell you Mark Mitchell will also receive attention.
As for when we can expect Lively to make a decision those in the know claim the Fall is likely but in recruiting anything can change, so keep that in mind.
If you are looking for a prediction, I will say Duke is in this one but it may take a little time to close the deal. And I feel Kentucky is the chief competition but if his decision is delayed more teams could enter the situation especially post visits that he has lined up.
Honestly, the landscape can change a lot after visits but I expect Duke to still be on the shortlist once they're finished.