- A Look Around 1st Live Evaluation Period
- Makai Ashton-Langford Highlights
- Twitter Reactions: Makai Ashton-Langford to Providence
- Providence Announces Team Awards
- Report: Ashton-Langford Officially Visiting PC
- A Closer Look: AJ Reeves
- Rivals: PC’s 2017 Class 34th Nationally
- Makai Ashton-Langford News Caps Wild Week at PC
- Fazekas to Transfer and the Class of ’15
- Key Recruiting Targets in Local All Star Game
A Closer Look: David Duke
- Updated: February 20, 2017
Friarbasketball.com will take a closer look at a number of key PC recruiting targets throughout the season. Our staff will continue to provide reports on the top Friar targets throughout the year, and provide updates on prospects that have been previously featured.
Prospect: David Duke
School: Cushing Academy
AAU Program: Mass Rivals
Perhaps no player in New England, or all of the East Coast, has taken off more this season than Cushing Academy’s David Duke.
The 6’3 guard was a relative unknown at this time a year ago — at least on the national scene. A Providence, RI native, Duke led Classical to a Division I state championship a year ago, and earned 1st Team All-State honors after averaging over 15 points per game. Brown and Bryant offered the night of Classical’s state championship victory, and the offers have come pouring in ever since.
Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure, and Providence offered in May, with Rhode Island following in June, but it wasn’t until the past two months that his recruitment went national.
Kansas, Northwestern, Florida, and Connecticut are among the schools to have offered since Duke began playing, and starring, for Cushing this season. With the departure of point guard Makai Ashton-Langford, there was some thought that Cushing could drop off this season, but Duke and backcourt mate Wabissa Bede (Virginia Tech signee) have both taken their games to the next level and provided Cushing with one of the best backcourts in all of New England.
This weekend I saw Duke play for the fifth time this season when Cushing rolled past Exeter. A member of Providence’s staff has been at each of those games, with the exception of when PC was in Milwaukee playing Marquette.
Duke was the best player on the floor when Cushing defeated Brimmer and May at the Zero Gravity Prep Classic in early December, and the same could be said in a win over fellow Providence native (and top-60 2017 small forward) Kimani Lawrence and New Hampton a couple of weeks later.
He was slowed a bit by an injured ankle when Craig Leighton and I watched him at the National Prep School Invitational, but by that point the secret was out. Duke is on his way to going from unranked to a potential top-50 prospect in the class of 2018. He reclassified before this season, so there were questions regarding whether or not he would return to the class of 2017 this spring, but with his stock continuing to rise it would be surprising to see him return to ’17.
Duke has a wicked crossover and is a well above average jump shooter. His athleticism leaps out, especially for a potential point guard at the next level. He finishes high above the rim. More subtly, Duke is comfortable doing things with his left hand. Not many young prospects pass effectively with their off-hand, but Duke does so, and on two or three occasions this season I’ve seen him try to dunk on bigger opponents with his left hand.
With Bede running the show at Cushing, Duke is playing off of the ball for most stretches this season, but he can play either guard spot.
The Bottom Line: Providence continues to pursue Duke heavily, led by assistant coach Brian Blaney. Blaney was in attendance this past weekend, and when Cushing played against New Hampton at Babson College in December. Ed Cooley and Jeff Battle joined Blaney at the Zero Gravity Classic in early December, and the entire staff sat behind Cushing’s bench at January’s National Prep School Invitational when Cushing defeated Rivers and Villanova commit Jermaine Samuels. Those were just the games that I was in attendance for.
The competition will only grow for Duke, as evidenced by a recent offer from Kansas. The Mass Rivals AAU program has seen several of its players explode nationally, most notably Wenyen Gabriel, who broke out in the summer of 2015 before committing to Kentucky, and Bede in 2016. PC was the first high major to offer Gabriel and made his final list of five before he opted for Kentucky.
2018 will be a critical class for Cooley and his staff. Cooley has a pair of highly regarded big men in 7’0 Dajour Dickens and top-100 power forward Nate Watson coming in next season. Now the challenge is adding the guards to complement them. It can’t hurt that Duke is a Providence native, but he also hasn’t provided any indication that he’d like to stay home.
A dream scenario for Cooley would be adding a pair of Mass Rivals teammates in 2018, as PC is battling hard for top-50 scorer AJ Reeves of Brimmer and May. Getting either would be a tremendous coup.
Providence’s top targets in the summer of 2015 (Gabriel) and 2016 (Ashton-Langford) were both Rivals products. Former Friar center Carson Desrosiers was one of the program’s early stars.
Duke is a freakish athlete. I don’t throw this around lightly, but he has the skills and athleticism to develop into a superstar at Providence.