Duke offers 2017 SF after missing on Knox


Kevin Knox is heading to play for John Calipari at Kentucky, which means Duke missed out on adding the kind of 5-star small forward the program has routinely had in recent seasons.

That doesn’t mean the Blue Devils won’t be adding talent at that position, though.

After Knox picked Kentucky on Saturday night, Duke quickly moved on Sunday to offer 4-star small forward Jordan Tucker.

Before Duke entered the picture, the 6-7 Tucker’s final schools were Indiana, Syracuse and Georgia Tech. He also holds an offer from Oregon.

Recruiting analysts consider Knox a top-10 player in his class and an elite talent with serious one-and-done aspirations. His playing style is closer to Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum, who both starred at Duke the last two seasons.

Tucker, though, brings plenty of talent of his own. As for being Duke’s backup choice after Knox, the notion doesn’t appear to bother Tucker based on what he wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

“Being a 2nd priority doesn’t change who I am as a player,” Tucker wrote. “I know what I’m capable of and I’m going to do what’s best for myself and my family.”

Fellow ACC schools Syracuse and Georgia Tech will be Duke’s top competition for Tucker. He grew up in White Plains, N.Y., and played AAU for the New York Rens last summer. The small forward moved to Georgia, where he played for Wheeler High School in Marietta this season.



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So the Orange and the Yellow Jackets have the geographic advantage.

But Tucker always considered Duke among his favorites going back to last winter. That’s despite the fact the Blue Devils had yet to offer a scholarship as they were pursuing Knox.

Duke would love to add Tucker for that small forward slot currently vacant after the 6-8 Tatum and 6-5 sophomore guard Luke Kennard left for the NBA. Tatum and Kennard were Duke’s top two scorers last season.

The Blue Devils have senior Grayson Allen to anchor the backcourt as they seek to land 6-3 point guard Trevon Duval, a 5-star player, in recruiting this week. If Frank Jackson, currently in the NBA Draft without an agent, comes back, all the better. Duke has three other incoming freshman guards: 5-star Gary Trent Jr., 4-star Alex O’Connell and 3-star Jordan Goldwire.

The Devils have talent and skill, but not much experience, up front. That group includes 6-11 sophomore Marques Bolden and 6-11 freshman Wendell Carter.

Jack White, the 6-6 Australian who didn’t play much as a freshman, is the only small forward on the roster.

Tucker could change that soon.