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Bonus Recruit!

Duke pulls a surprise with a reclassification

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Syracuse v Duke
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 23: The Duke Blue Devils mascot performs against the Syracuse Orange during the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at CenturyLink Center on March 23, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Looks like Joey Baker, who was previously class of 2019, has reclassified and will be at Duke this summer to join the already loaded class of 2018!

If you hit the link below you’ll see that he’s not opposed to redshirting (because he’ll get to go against great players in practice and will improve) and also please note that he’s not the first player lately to talk about his relationship with Jon Scheyer.


After considering it for a while, here’s what we think the reasoning is for Baker’s coming to Duke early.

First, he’s an outstanding shooter and that could prove to be a weakness on this team. And second, although Scheyer probably pitched him on getting in and working hard against monster talents like RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones to improve, he also mentioned the possibility of redshirting. And that would allow Duke something it hasn’t had a whole lot of lately: a talented player who has a year under his belt.

As much as Duke has recruited one-and-done players lately, it’s not entirely by preference. Coach K’s original philosophy of mixing one-and-done guys with what he calls program players, guys who stay for a while, is good basic approach.

We’ve talked before about how guys like Marques Bolden, Justin Robinson, Antonio Vrankovic, Jack White, Alex O’ Connell and Jordan Goldwire give Duke something really valuable in spite of limited playing time to date.

These guys know all the drills, all the stations and all the expectations. And remember that the NCAA limits how much time coaches can spend directly with players. That’s not the case with older teammates. They can teach their younger teammates whenever they want to, whether during practice or after hours. They can go to the gym at midnight if they want.

Having a guy like Baker incorporated into that early is a real plus and it will pay off down the road.

Meanwhile, if he can nail some threes this season, that’s a big positive right away.

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