As summer heats up, so is JP Estrella’s recruiting profile.
The Class of 2023 Maine big, who has flown relatively under the radar heading into his senior year of high school, impressed at the NBA Top 100 camp last week. Playing against top competition, he put together an 8-for-10 shooting performance that showcased great instincts on the offensive glass, a soft touch from midrange, and a confident stroke from beyond the arc.
It’s unsurprising that Estrella’s list of offers continues to grow as coaches get a better look at him without having to venture up to Maine. Along with a Duke contingent, coaches from Kansas, Tennessee, Marquette, Connecticut, Syracuse, and Penn State watched him closely at the camp, with Kansas recently extending a scholarship offer. Estrella has official visits to Iowa and Duke planned, along with an unofficial jaunt to Connecticut.
With the Duke visit tentatively planned for the beginning of August, there is buzz that the Blue Devils could soon secure a commitment from the 6-foot-11 stretch big. Indeed, two “Crystal Ball” predictions have recently been registered for Estrella to Duke from respected Blue Devil insiders John Watson and Adam Rowe. Estrella’s commitment would give Duke a balanced five in the 2023 class that could conceivably see the floor together: point guard Caleb Foster, shooting guard Jared McCain, combo forward Mackenzie Mgbako, power forward Sean Stewart, and Estrella at center.
The Blue Devils still have an offer outstanding to Xavier Booker, a 2023 big who projects to have more of an immediate impact. While the rapidly evolving relationship between Scheyer and Estrella has other fan bases pursuing Booker breathing a sigh of relief, there’s no reason to necessarily believe Estrella and Booker are mutually exclusive, especially with Estrella projecting as a multi-year big and Duke expecting to lose incoming freshman Dereck Lively and Kyle Filipowski to the NBA following this season. With both Estrella and Booker projecting as stretch bigs who can operate both in and outside the paint, it’s not inconceivable that Scheyer could envision pairing them together like Filipowski and Lively will likely pair this year, or having Estrella develop in a reserve role behind the potential one-and-done Booker. Keeping track of Duke’s pursuit of both 2023 bigs may provide insight not only into Scheyer’s plans for 2023, but also how the staff views the future role of current reserve centers Ryan Young and Christian Reeves.