Mike Krzyzewski’s impending retirement has not impacted Duke’s ability to go out and land blue-chip recruits. In fact, one could argue the program’s recruiting efforts have been taken up a notch under head-coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer.
That argument gained a bit more steam on Monday night, as Dereck Lively II, the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2022, gave Duke his commitment over the likes of Kentucky, Michigan and Penn State. Lively is the third five-star recruit to join Duke’s 2022 recruiting class and the fourth five-star to commit since Scheyer was named Krzyzewski’s successor.
Kentucky had been red hot on the recruiting trail leading up to Lively’s announcement, but Duke did just enough to land the Pennsylvania native and AAU teammate of Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren. Lively, who is very much in the conversation to wind up the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2022, possesses a high-caliber skill set with his size, length and defensive prowess.
He also possesses a high basketball I.Q. — a must for any member of Duke’s program.
Lively’s feel for the game should allow him to gel nicely with fellow five-star big man Kyle Filipowski. Lively already has plenty of experience playing alongside an elite big stemming from his days playing next to Duren with Team Final. He might be an even better fit playing with Filipowski than he was with Duren given how the duo can play off each other’s strengths in the low post on both ends of the floor.
“The potential and athletic gifts of Dereck Lively are beyond tremendous,” 247Sports’ Brandon Jenkins wrote in his scouting report of Lively. “He has terrific athleticism for his size as he elevates off the floor well and is aggressive in how he utilizes his springs to protect the rim and control the glass on a consistent basis.
“One factor that truly stands out to scouts at the highest of levels is his commitment to being a center and playing as such. He values rebounding, sprinting the floor, and keeping his motor running in a high gear. He is dangerous in the screen and roll game and gives across Tyson Chandler vibes due to his length and productivity in the shot-blocking and rebounding categories.”