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Duke Recruiting: Flory Bidunga Intel

As the situation becomes more and more interesting

Syndication: Journal-Courier
 Kokomo Wildkats center Flory Bidunga (40) dunks the ball during the IHSAA boy s basketball game against the Lafayette Jeff Bronchos, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at Lafayette Jeff High School in Lafayette, Ind. Kokomo won 49-43. 
Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Flory Bidunga recruitment is heating up and according to this Kansas site, he could commit as early as July 29th.

Joshua Schulman has some intriguing information, not all of it confirmed, so caveat emptor and all that. Here’s what he says:

  • Bidunga would like to commit before he finishes his summer travels and returns to Kokomo on August 2nd.
  • He has visited Duke and Kansas, but not Michigan and Auburn and apparently has no plans of doing so. It’s hard not to see Duke and Kansas as the major players here if that’s true.
  • This is a quote from the article: “Granted, Kansas basketball is not leading the race for the highly coveted big man. Ever since Duke reached out to him last month and hosted him for a visit, they’ve been considered the favorites. After all, the Blue Devils consistently bring in 5-star recruits each year. That is something that head coach Bill Self’s group cannot say.“
  • He also talks about NIL implications since Bidunga is from Kinshasa, Congo, and NIL doesn’t necessarily work the same way for international students as it does for US citizens.

About that: as best we understand, an international student who is not officially an immigrant most likely will be here under an F-1 visa and are not allowed to work except in very narrow circumstances. And if you break the rules, you can have your F-1 status terminated, which would obviously be bad.

Zach Edey gets around this to some extent at Purdue by doing his NIL business in Canada. That’s relatively easy since it’s next door, but that’s presumably less of an option for Bidunga as a Congolese who is 7,000 miles from home.

So that’s an interesting situation. Presumably, Duke did its homework with Tyrese Proctor, who is an Australian citizen, so that’s worth noting. We could be missing someone, but we don’t think Kansas has had an international player since Gethro Muscadin, a 6-10 Haitian who played for KU in 2020-21, during the Covid era, and there were more basic concerns at that point (tragically, Muscadin, who left the Jayhawks for New Mexico after his freshman year, died in 2022, nearly a year after rolling his car over on the Kansas Turnpike).

So given the F-1 knowledge Duke has with Proctor and access to world-class legal minds at the Duke School of Law, that might give the Blue Devils a slight advantage. Depending on what Scheyer, Duke GM Rachel Baker and their legal contributors know, it might not be slight at all.