Duke’s top ranked recruiting class took a hit today, with the surprising decision by Boogie Ellis to ask for his release from his National Letter of Intent. The four-star point guard was the fifth-ranked member of the Blue Devils’ 2019 class.
Obviously, that knocks Duke’s class down a peg. It could also be huge news for schools like Kansas and Kentucky, if it sets the correct dominoes in motion.
Those schools, as well as Memphis, are also involved with newly reclassified five-star guard R.J. Hampton. Texas Tech took the Duke spot in his top schools list, so it hasn’t been a banner week for Coach K’s recruiting efforts.
Memphis, which has reemerged as a recruiting power behind new head coach Penny Hardaway, is now considered the favorite to land Ellis. That could knock the Tigers out of the Hampton sweepstakes.
Earlier today, R.J. Hampton’s father addressed why Duke fell off the top schools list, while Kentucky did not.
Both schools return young star point guards in Tre Jones and Ashton Hagans, respectively. Rod Hampton explained that John Calipari had a track record of utilizing multiple lead guards and ball handlers well, which allowed the Wildcats to stick around, while Jones’ presence effectively knocked the Blue Devils from contention.
From The Courier Journal:
“Not that Duke doesn’t have the wow factor, but Cal has played with multiple guards,” Rod Hampton said. “I think the one good thing RJ has going for him is he can play multiple positions. At the next level, he’ll be a point guard, but he can switch and play, guard the two, sometimes guard the three. I think that’s good for him.”
If Memphis lands a ball-dominant guard like Ellis, that could open things up for Kansas, Kentucky, and Texas Tech for Hampton, as noted by UK SB Nation site A Sea of Blue.
Obviously nothing is final here, but there definitely seems to be a fair amount of interconnection between these schools. That is nothing new for longtime elite recruiting rivals Duke and Kentucky. Hardaway is definitely presenting an interesting wrinkle to the top of the recruiting landscape over the last few months.