The Duke Blue Devils have dominated the college basketball recruiting scene in recent years, signing the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in each of the last three cycles, per the 247Sports composite rankings, and four of the last five (with a No. 2 class in 2015).
Duke was also off to a good start in the Class of 2019 with a commitment from 5-star forward Joey Baker. However, Baker has since reclassified to the Class of 2018, but he’s still a big part of getting the ball rolling with his original class thanks to a text message chain he started with some of the nation’s biggest recruits.
Following the lead of Tre Jones, the top-ranked point guard in the Class of 2018 and the first Duke commitment in that cycle, Baker has formed a group text with other top Duke targets. Baker, Brian Antoine, Joe Girard and Isaiah Stewart are all on the chain, according to a report from the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Ben Roberts.
And it appears to be working. Duke is considered the favorites for all three of those players, according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. They’re also favored to land No. 2 overall recruit Vernon Carey and fellow 5-stars Wendell Moore and Josiah James.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski still has to recruit these players, but in a lot of ways it feels like these kids are recruiting themselves to Duke. They band together with other top players and establish a dream of spending a year in college, winning a title and then bolting for the NBA.
Right now, Duke is the place where they envision that happening. Thus far, the championship part has only come to fruition for Krzyzewski’s original one-and-done supergroup, with Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justice Winslow leading them to a national title in 2015.
However, the Class of 2018 appears to be their best crop yet (four of the top 12 players in the nation plus Baker). And now another group text message has set them up for success in 2019, as well.