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Rivals Roundtable: Duke's recent misses, next to commit, more

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2019 Team Rankings

This week in the Rivals Roundtable, basketball analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald give their opinions on a number of topics. Should there be recruiting concerns at Duke? Which in-state commitment will help their program most? And much more.

MORE: Programs with important visits this weekend

1. After a few high-profile misses in the class of 2019, should Duke be worried about recruiting?

Mike Krzyzewski
Mike Krzyzewski (Getty Images)

Bossi: Misses on five-star guards Josiah James and Bryan Antoine were tough, but c’mon we are still talking about Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. It’s way too early for any kind of panic. However, the misses do put some added pressure on the Blue Devils to land a guy like five-star wing Wendell Moore and an offer to four-star point guard Boogie Ellis shows they are finding new perimeter targets.

Evans: There is no question about it. For one reason or another, the Blue Devils have failed to find much traction in the 2019 and after losing two of its top targets, Duke enters the fall without a commitment and with several holes to fill. Now, that all could be put to bed by the time November rolls around in the form of Isaiah Stewart, Boogie Ellis and Wendell Moore but we’re still banking on the Blue Devils hitting on each after striking out on the prior two.

McDonald: I'm always a big believer in just letting things play out when it comes to recruiting. Some of the kids Duke is messing with are going to let the process play out a bit. Vernon Carey Jr. doesn't appear to be in a huge rush to make a decision, but the Blue Devils are in pretty strong with him. Stewart is still a possibility as well, and Duke has long been considered the leader for Moore. In saying all that, recent misses on James and Antoine are a little concerning because now Duke is in scramble mode to some extent for a point guard.

2. Which 2019 in-state pickup should pay the most dividends long term?

Isaiah Mobley
Isaiah Mobley (Nick Lucero/

Bossi: USC and five-star forward Isaiah Mobley should be the answer here because he’s a stud and his brother, Evan Mobley, ranked No. 2 in 2020, will surely end up joining him. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that their dad is on staff. A little further down the list, shooting guards Donovan Williams (No. 51) and Brandon Newman (No. 75) are great fits at Texas and Purdue and each his big upside.

Evans: Five-star guard Nico Mannion is one that will pay the greatest dividends for the in-state Arizona Wildcats. Arizona made Mannion a priority for the past few years and after the worst-kept secret in the industry became known, that being Mannion reclassifying into the 2019 class, Sean Miller’s ability to beat out Villanova, Duke and Marquette for his pledge is not just a win but a boon for the Pac-12 program.

McDonald: I'm going to play off the last two words of the question and take somebody who could be a star after a year or two if he's patient, and that's Dontaie Allen at Kentucky. I watched him quite a bit this summer and he's one of the better scorers in the class. Kentucky's roster is always really crowded with talented players, which means it could take a year before he gets a ton of playing time, but he's going to be a really good player for Big Blue Nation.

3. How does the class of 2019 compare overall to others that you have scouted?

Vernon Carey Jr.
Vernon Carey Jr. (Nick Lucero/

Bossi: I have been doing this for nearly 20 years now and 2019, to this point at least, would have to be considered a bit of a “down” class. What has held the 2019 prospects back is consistency and addressing weaknesses. If some of the top players can find consistency and address big holes in their game rather than relying on athleticism, 2019 has room to take a big step forward.

Evans: The 2019 class is probably the worst that I have covered. There is some quality talent atop in Vernon Carey, James Wiseman and Cole Anthony, along with some sure-fire producers at the next level and beyond in Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Stewart and Kahlil Whitney, but there is still a limited amount of can’t-miss guys compared with prior classes.

McDonald: I would say that the class as a whole isn't as strong at the top as most classes, but it's a little deeper than normal when you get past the top 50 or so. Schools that recruit in 50-150 range will end up with really good classes when we look back in a few years.

4. Commitments really picked up over the last week. Is there anybody to keep an eye on over the next few days?

Marcus Watson
Marcus Watson (Nick Lucero/

Bossi: I’m going to go with Wendell Moore, who I mentioned above. He’s at Duke this weekend and I would imagine the Devils are going to ramp up the pressure a bit. Pressure aside, Moore just appears to be close to getting a decision made and the Blue Devils would love to hold off N.C. State and Wake Forest for him.

Evans: It is about that time for EJ Liddell. The top-50 forward cancelled his final two visits to Kansas State and Wisconsin, moved around his visit date to Illinois, a trip that he will take this weekend, and is now focused on a group of three (with Ohio State and Missouri). Now that we have the easy part out of the way, figuring out where he is actually going to commit to is the difficult part to nail down. Expect for a pledge soon as his final official visit weekend spent in Champaign could be the deciding factor.

McDonald: I'd keep an eye on Marcus Watson and his visit to Georgia Tech. He cut his list down to four earlier this week with Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Texas Tech remaining. He plans to visit Oregon on Oct. 13, but will have already visited the other three along with Boston College after this weekend. It wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't make it to the Oregon visit before deciding. I'd label Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State as the two schools in the best spot right now.