5-star Kuminga sets decision date; Duke in the mix but a long shot

One of the most sought-after basketball prospects in the country — Jonathan Kuminga — has set his decision date: Thursday, July 16. Kuminga will announce his choice at 2 p.m.

The 6-foot-8, 205-pound Kuminga is currently the No. 1 prospect in the 2021 recruiting class; however, the could change soon, too. For months now, there’s been a great deal of speculation and belief that Kuminga will reclassify to 2020. (In his tweet announcing his future announcement, Kuminga again seemed to indicate that his move to the 2020 class is a formality at this point.)

Back in late May (which I’m pretty sure was two years ago), Kuminga cut his list of schools down to four college programs: Duke, Texas Tech, Kentucky and Auburn. Kuminga, however, seems like a real possibility to follow in Jalen Green’s footsteps — forgoing college ball and playing in the NBA and G League’s development program. In fact, most experts peg him for that path, which makes plenty of sense and offers serious developmental opportunities.

If Kuminga goes with the NBA/G League approach, then he adds another big name to the debut of what could become an important pipeline from preps to pros. Reports also indicate that Kuminga, if he goes the professions route, will command a salary similar to Green — in the $500,000 range.


Duke Basketball: 2020-21 Frontcourt Outlook

Duke is a long shot to land Kuminga; if he goes the college route, regardless of year, Texas Tech is seen as the favorite, while Auburn is viewed as the secondary option. The Blue Devils, however, are well positioned for both now and the future.

Assuming there’s some semblance of a 2020-21 college basketball season, Duke already has a roster/rotation that’s relatively stacked. There’s a logjam of talent at the 3 and 4 positions, especially. Incoming freshmen Jalen Johnson, a potential 2021 lottery pick, and Jaemyn Brakefield are incredibly talented. Matthew Hurt returns for his sophomore season as one of the ACC’s top NBA prospects, too. The same can be said for Wendell Moore Jr., who played 1-4 as a freshman.

Duke could run with some small-ball lineups that feature Johnson, Brakefield and Hurt as the de facto 3-4-5. However, this roster also has two true centers, too: graduate transfer Patrick Tape and 5-star freshman Mark Williams. Henry Coleman, a 4-star power forward, must factor into this equation as well.

The point being: if Kuminga actually came to Durham, he would play a lot of minutes and be featured heavily. He’s that good. But it would come with the very real cost of several other players (most likely) having to make serious sacrifices.

As far as 2021 recruiting goes, well, Duke is positioned quite nicely. The Blue Devils are off to an excellent start with 5-star small forward AJ Griffin, and Patrick Baldwin Jr., another 5-star forward, looms as a real possibility, too.


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