Over the last three months, Duke secured verbal commitments from one of the nation’s top wings (Jayson Taum) and point guards (Frank Jackson). On Sunday, it added an elite power forward, Javin DeLaurier, to the same recruiting class. “I am blessed to announce that I will be furthering my education and basketball career at Duke University,” DeLaurier wrote in a message posted to his Twitter account.
DeLaurier, who attends St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Va., took an official visit to Duke’s campus in Durham, N.C., this weekend. That trip followed visits earlier this month to Notre Dame and Texas, two of the six schools he included on a list of six released in the fall (the others were Stanford, Arizona, Duke and North Carolina). The Blue Devils reportedly did not extend DeLaurier a scholarship offer until they met for an in-home visit about two weeks ago.
DeLaurier said he ultimately chose Duke because it was the “best fit,” according to Scout.com.
One of the fastest-rising prospects in the class of 2016, DeLaurier leapt into the top 50 of Rivals.com’s rankings after showing well on the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet circuit with his grassroots program, Team Loaded Virginia. Over 11 games in 2015, he averaged 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while drawing praise for his energetic play. “He crashes the glass, runs the floor, plays above the rim and is a good mid-range shooter,” Eric Bossi, a national analyst for Rivals.com, wrote in June.
DeLaurier represents yet another talented addition to another standout class for Duke. Jackson and Tatum are already considered among the best at their positions, and DeLaurier made a huge leap over the past year. Yet the Blue Devils could be close to adding an even more highly regarded power forward. They are considered the favorite for Harry Giles, Rivals.com’s No. 2 player in the country. Duke had also been pursuing big men Marques Bolden (16) and Wenyen Gabriel (17).
How Gabriel will fit into Duke’s frontcourt rotation is unclear. Duke is bringing in a five-star center as part of its 2015 recruiting class, Chase Jeter, and Giles, if he chooses the Blue Devils, projects as an offensive centerpiece, impact defender and a top-three draft pick. Still, even if DeLaurier doesn’t play major minutes as a freshman, he could emerge as a valuable contributor during his college career. In any case, DeLaurier is another piece in Duke’s plan to reload for next season.