Jayson Tatum has become the latest elite high school prospect to commit to Duke.
Tatum announced his commitment to Duke Sunday live on ESPNU while at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in North Augusta (SC). The Kentucky Wildcats were among his finalists, as well as St. Louis and North Carolina.
The 6-8 wing from St. Louis, is ranked as one of the top players in a stacked 2016 class. Tatum is No. 1 small forward and No. 2 overall player on ESPN, the No. 11 player on 24/7 sports, and the No. 3 prospect on Rivals.
Not only does Tatum's commitment give Duke the No. 1 recruiting class in 2016 for now, but it also helps with their recruitment of fellow 2016 forward Harry Giles, as SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell writes:
Giles was another class of 2016 star on USA Basketball's U19 team. The two were roommates in Greece, have known each other since they were 11 years old and and could swing the 2017 national title picture in college basketball all by themselves. If college is only going to be a one-year pit stop before the NBA, why not team up with your self-described "best friend" and try to win a championship?
As of now, Giles' 24/7 Sports crystal ball has him going to Duke with North Carolina trailing.
The belief is Giles, who hails from High Point (NC), will remain in North Carolina to play college basketball, but he's repeatedly disputed that this week at the Peach Jam. Giles is ranked by 24/7 Sports and Rivals as the No. 2 overall player in 2016 while ESPN has him as their No. 1 prospect.
There's also this nugget from Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog:
Coach K now in the house to watch Harry Giles, who one asst from another school told me last night, 'He's going to Duke.'
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) July 11, 2015
Source: "If [Tatum] goes to Duke, Harry may follow."
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) July 12, 2015
If this ends up being true, that means Kentucky will miss out on arguably the two best prospects in the 2016 class. The good news is that this class loaded that there are more instant-impact prospects than normal, so John Calipari should be able to land several prospects capable of making UK a Final Four contender in the 2016-17 season.