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After being turned away at the altar by two five-star targets in Josiah James (Tennessee) and Bryan Antoine (Villanova), Duke landed what is probably one of the more important men’s basketball commitments on the recruiting trail in recent memory. Not because of what Wendell Moore will bring to the roster — and the five-star versatile wing will bring a lot — but because of Moore’s significance as the first post-Jeff Capel commitment for Mike Krzyzewski and his assistant coaches.
Former player Chris Carrawell was hired to replace Capel and it was his relationship with Moore and his family, as well as Moore’s high school coach, that helped the Blue Devils solidify the commitment over in-state rivals North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest. Carrawell’s son, Caleb, is a teammate of Moore’s at Cox Mill High in Concord and had an already established relationship with Chargers head coach Jody Barbee. Moore, who grew up a Duke fan, is the first No. 1-ranked player in the state of North Carolina to commit to Duke since Brandon Ingram in 2015.
COUNTDOWN TO CRAZINESS
Duke’s basketball squad has already returned to practice officially, but the Blue Devils’ introduction to the fan base and media will come next Friday night Oct. 19 when the program hosts its annual “Countdown to Craziness” celebration. The buzz surrounding this team is unlike any in recent memory, mostly due to YouTube sensation Zion Williamson and the star power surrounding him. Coach K’s roster also boasts the top-ranked player in the country from last year’s recruiting class, RJ Barrett, fellow top 5 player Cameron Reddish and five-star point guard Tre Jones (yes, Tyus’ younger brother) to go along with some veteran returnees. Even in the one-and-done era, Duke has never had a team that trended this young, with just role player Antonio Vrankovic a true senior. There’s such a dearth of upperclassmen key contributors on the roster that it’s still up in the air who will be captains.
HUGE OFFICIAL VISITORS
Five-star power forward Vernon Carey, once the No. 1player in the class and still considered a top-five talent in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, will be on an official visit to Duke for “Countdown to Craziness.” The Class of 2020, still in its junior years, are the first recruiting class to be able to take advantage of the new NCAA rules that allow juniors to take visits. This weekend (weather-permitting), five-star guard Jeremy Roach is expected to be on Duke’s campus while the following weekend will see fellow five-stars Jalen Johnson and BJ Boston in town for official visits. They’ll be on campus for “Countdown to Craziness,” in addition to Carey.
INJURIES AND RECOVERIES
While quarterback Daniel Jones returned to the football field for David Cutcliffe against Virginia Tech two weeks ago, the offense sputtered in the face of Bud Foster’s tough Hokies defense and Duke suffered its first loss in eight games.
It was the ACC’s longest current winning streak, and the loss erased most of the goodwill the Blue Devils had engendered in the first four games of the season when they went 4-0 and entered the Top 25 for the first time in three seasons. Now Duke is at the bottom of the conference standings with an 0-1 start and needs some help to return to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game.
Huge game at Ga. Tech
The start of Duke’s seven-game winning streak that ended in week 5 was a 43-20 win over Georgia Tech down the stretch last year, which you can be sure Yellow Jackets’ head coach Paul Johnson hasn’t forgotten. The Rambling Wreck’s offense is clicking of late, with back-to-back games scoring over 60 points, so new co-defensive coordinators Matt Guerrieri and Ben Albert will have their work cut out for them this Saturday afternoon at 12:20PM.
Adam Rowe covers Duke basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com. Check out more of his work at duke.247sports.com.