Nation's top center Dereck Lively II picks Duke basketball over Kentucky, North Carolina


No one knows how Jon Scheyer will fare when he takes over for legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski after next season. But his ability as a recruiter cannot be argued.

On Monday night, Duke added its fourth and most impressive name to its 2022 class.

Dereck Lively II, a 7-foot-1 center and the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation, committed to the Blue Devils on Monday night, edging out Kentucky, North Carolina and a host of other contenders.

Duke landed the final official visit for Lively late in the summer and Scheyer visited Lively last week at his high school in Pennsylvania.

Nation's top center Dereck Lively II picks Duke basketball over Kentucky, North Carolina

According to 247Sports.com composite rankings, Kentucky currently has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Duke is now primed to take over the top spot.

Lively II will be joined in Durham by five-star win Dariq Whitehead (No. 5 player in the 2022 class), five-star forward Kyle Flipowski (No. 8), and four-star guard Jaden Schutt (No. 56).

The Blue Devils are also frontrunners for five-star wing Mark Mitchell, who will choose between Duke, UCLA, Kansas, and Missouri, and four-star combo guard J.J. Starling.

Last week, Duke got its first commitment from the class of 2023 in five-star guard Caleb Foster.

The Blue Devils open the 2021-2022 season on Nov. 9 at Madison Square Garden against Kentucky.

David Thompson is an award-winning reporter for the USA Today Network covering NC State and Duke athletics. He can be reached at dthompson1@gannett.com, at 828-231-1747, or on Twitter at @daveth89.

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