Re-Ranking the Contenders: Patrick Baldwin Jr.
The No. 5 recruit in the class of 2021, Patrick Baldwin, Jr. is nearing a commitment. Duke was long thought to be the leader for the five-star forward but Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the low-major program led by his father, seems to be surging.
Below, Rivals.com ranks the contenders to land Baldwin’s National Letter of Intent.
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2023 Rankings: Top 30
The Panthers have always been an option for Baldwin Jr. because his father is the team’s head coach. Just how serious an option they were had fluctuated over the years, however. These days, the Horizon League program not only seems like a serious threat to land the No. 5 prospect in the country but possibly even the front-runner.
Baldwin Sr. is 44-69 in his four years as the program’s head coach and his son happens to have the talent to help turn that record around in a hurry. He also knows better than anyone how to use his offspring’s skill set, so the basketball marriage would likely be a symbiotic one. Baldwin Jr. would be the top recruit in program history by a wide margin, but the situation makes more sense than it would seem on the surface.
Once considered the clear favorite to land the five-star forward, Duke is less of a sure thing these days. It’s certainly possible that the Blue Devils’ mediocre season has hurt them in the sweepstakes but it’s more likely that Mike Krzyzewski and company are a victim of circumstance. It’s difficult to recruit the son of a D-I coach that desperately needs his child to help reverse his fortunes, so the deck is stacked against the ACC powerhouse.
That said, it’s never wise to count Duke out of anything and Baldwin could still land in Durham. Duke and UW-Milwaukee seem like the only programs that have a real shot in this sweepstakes.
3. NORTH CAROLINA
The Tar Heels are a long shot to say the least, but they probably still warrant mentioning. Roy Williams and company were involved with Baldwin to a more serious extent in the fall of last year but the chances of them actually landing him have faded as time progressed.
The five-stat choosing North Carolina would be a serious shock to anyone who has followed this story, but recruiting has a way of providing a couple head-turning moments each cycle.