For the third time since August and the fourth time since May, Duke has landed a commitment from a player considered to be the best in their class.
Trevon Duval and Marvin Bagley III pledged to the Blue Devils in the Class of 2017. Two weeks ago, Tre Jones became the highest-rated prospect in the Class of 2018 to commit to a school when he announced that he would be following in the footsteps of his brother, Tyus, to play the point for Coach K.
And on Friday night, Cameron Reddish, a top four prospect — and potentially the top player — in the Class of 2018, announced that he will be joining Jones in Durham. A natural wing, Reddish is more likely to fill the void left by Grayson Allen and Gary Trent next season than he is to play the role of small-ball four that Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram and Justise Winslow did before him.
Reddish ultimately picked the Blue Devils over Kentucky, Villanova, UCLA and UConn, as the Blue Devils are once again loading up their roster with one-and-done prospects.
He also happens to be another example of a recruit Mike Kryzewski brought in that has been in the news for reasons other than basketball.
There was Duval, who had major eligibility question marks stemming from time that he spent at Advanced Preparatory Institute, which was where Prime Prep’s basketball team ended up. That same school was the reason that Emmanuel Mudiay and Terrance Ferguson opted to go overseas instead of risk the NCAA declaring them ineligible.
Then there was Bagley. He had just as many academic red flags stemming from multiple transfers during his high school career, and that was before he made the decision to enroll in college a year early. He is still waiting word on whether or not he will be eligible to play this season.
Using the term ‘red flag’ is probably too strong with Reddish. He was caught by TMZ’s cameras in August leaving a restaurant with LeBron James and Rich Paul, the founder of Klutch Sports Group. To be clear, Reddish is doing nothing wrong taking that meeting so long as he’s paying for his own food and his own drink — players are allowed to talk to and have a relationship with NBA agents as long as they aren’t signing anything or being represented in any capacity by that agent — and frankly, the way that agents are viewed as villains in the world of NCAA sports is absurd. Reddish, in all likelihood, is going to be heading off to the NBA after one year at Duke to sign a contract that could be worth more than $10 million. Why, again, is it wrong with that player having a relationship with a professional who makes a living guiding kids just like him into the deep waters of the NBA?
If anything, this is more of an issue at the NBA level than the college level. The NBA has investigated whether or not LeBron has any ownership in Klutch Sports before. They found nothing, but it does seem as if he is an active recruiter for the agency.
Which, again, does not mean that Reddish doing anything wrong.
Frankly, it’s quite normal.
But it is another example of Duke finding themselves in the midst of the business of basketball at this level that tends to make the ‘They should be students first!!’ types uncomfortable.
That’s who Duke is these days.
Pretending otherwise would be silly.
And if they weren’t they would not be entering this season as the preseason No. 1 team in the country, just like they did last year and, at this rate, just like they will next season.
If you want Coach K to get that sixth national title, you probably won’t be complaining about it, either.