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Duke Recruiting: Is Fuqua A Draw?

The latest Duke Blue Planet certainly makes it seem like it

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament- Iowa vs Northwestern
Ryan Young is one of three Duke grad transfers currently enrolled in the Fuqua School of Business.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The speed at which college basketball has changed over the past half decade has been astounding. A decade ago, graduate transfers were few and far between, traditional transfers still had to sit out a year, and NIL was a pipe dream. Now, all three are the norm, not the exception.

And Jon Scheyer seems to be leaning into this new era of recruiting.

His embrace of NIL has been well documented, aided by hiring Rachel Baker to be Duke’s first “general manager.” He was also aggressive in the transfer market this season, bringing in four experienced faces to balance out an otherwise young Duke squad.

Now, there seem to be signs that the Blue Devils will continue to lean into the grad transfer market in the future.

For evidence, look no further than the latest Duke Blue Planet video. With the rise of social media, the average fan would be forgiven in forgetting that DBP started as a recruiting tool to directly engage with potential recruits online. DBP has evolved to give fans similar “behind the scenes” content, while still being a major asset for advertising Duke to recruits, as well as current players for potential NIL opportunities.

That makes the emphasis of the most recent video so interesting. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the video’s focus is on Scheyer and the freshmen experiencing life on campus with their peers. But a major portion flips the script and focuses on the older Blue Devils, namely the three grad transfers (Ryan Young, Kale Catchings, and Max Johns) who are pursuing a grad degree at the Fuqua School of Business.

Given the commitment of being a Duke basketball player, it’s highly unlikely any of the three are pursuing a prestigious MBA. Still, any master’s degree from Fuqua, one of the top business schools in the country, will be a boon for these young men’s life after basketball. Duke’s social media team is such a well oiled machine that nothing happens by accident, begging the question: Is Fuqua going to be a part of Duke’s recruiting pitch to grad transfers moving forward?

While it won’t make a difference for all recruits, for a certain segment of the grad transfer population it could be pivotal. Scheyer could, conceivably, aim to cultivate depth by consistently adding experienced players from prestigious academic institutions to the roster each year by pitching them on the benefits of a Fuqua degree. With potential changes to the one and done rule upcoming, developing a grad transfer pipeline to ensure a baseline level of experience on every team would be a savvy move by Duke’s new head coach.