College basketball recruits are coming off the board quickly, and on Monday night, one of the biggest - figuratively and literally - made his college choice.
That player was Dereck Lively, a 7'2 center from Pennsylvania, who on Monday made his announcement. He picked Duke over Kentucky and a number of schools, including Penn State, where his mother works.
Ultimately this isn't all that surprising, as Duke and Kentucky were seen as neck-and-neck through most of the recruitment, with many believing Kentucky had the inside track. However, Lively wasn't expected to commit until the spring time, so when he announced last week that he would make his decision on Monday, it was seen as a good sign for Duke. The fact that John Calipari visited another Top 10 big man - Adem Bona - on Sunday, was further seen as a sign that Duke might ultimately be the pick.
In terms of his game, put simply, the Blue Devils got the single biggest difference-maker in this class, a 7'2 monster, who can do just about anything on the basketball court. Yes, he is an elite rim runner and rim protector, and will immediately become one of the best defensive players in college basketball next year. However for a player his size, he has a very advanced skill set, and is a better passer and shooter than he's given credit for.
Besides the fact that he is a difference-maker and the likely No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, this commit is also important to Duke for one reason: It proves that the Blue Devils may not miss a beat in the post-Coach K recruiting era.
People will say that Coach K is still on campus, and that he still has one more season of coaching, but still. Lively is committing to Duke to play for Jon Scheyer, not Coach K. And while it's easy to say "well, let's see how Scheyer recruits when Coach K is officially away from the program" we can't discount the fact that this kid did in fact commit to play for Jon Scheyer. Lively is now the third five-star to commit in the class of 2022, joining wing Dariq Whitehead and stretch four Kyle Filipowski.
In the end, we'll see just how far Duke falls - if at all - when Scheyer takes over for Coach K on the court.
But in recruiting, they haven't missed a beat.
In the mean time, here are some highlights of Lively dominating... pretty much everyone.