One of the top uncommitted guards in the 2021 class is no longer: Jaylen Blakes will head to Duke.
Blakes, a 4-star prospect, is a borderline top-100 recruit, according to 247 Sports composite rankings. Blakes ranks as the No. 16 point guard on that list, too.
Numerous ACC teams were in on Blakes; in recent months, he added offers from Boston College and Pittsburgh, along with Duke. The Blue Devils extended a scholarship offer last week. Outside of the ACC: VCU, Illinois and UConn also offered Blakes.
A tough winner pic.twitter.com/NQE5qo37cz
— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) April 19, 2021
During his time as a prep player, Blakes played for the famed Blair Academy. While at Blair Academy, he was a teammates of Jabri Abdur-Rahim, who played this season for Virginia before transferring to Georgia.
April has been a busy recruiting month for Duke, especially following the decisions of DJ Steward and Matthew Hurt to head to the NBA Draft. Back in early April, Duke also landed 5-star 2021 shooting guard Trevor Keels.
However, the Blue Devils clearly want to add more depth in the backcourt and frontcourt. Last Friday, Marquette center Theo John, a four-year player in the Big East, committed to Duke as well.
Incoming 5-star forwards AJ Griffin and Paolo Banchero, two of the top five players in the class, signed with Duke last fall. Now, with Blakes (who can function as the backup point guard for Jeremy Roach), Duke is set to have a four-person 2021 class for incoming freshmen, plus John.
The Blue Devils, however, will have flexibility along these lines, too. Griffin and Wendell Moore Jr., now one of the veterans in the program, provide real versatility and can be moved all over the floor. Duke can also feel confident in the guard rotation of Roach, Keels, Blakes and Joey Baker.
On paper, assuming 5-star forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. doesn’t also commit to Duke, the Blue Devils should have a rather interesting starting five: Roach, Keels, Griffin, Banchero and Williams. Moore could start over Keels, or serve as a super-sub/sixth man — filling in at a variety of positions. The same can be said for Coleman, a powerful team defender.