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Duke is gaining traction in Matthew Hurt’s recruitment

The Blue Devils are now a legitimate threat for the top-10 recruit.

USA Basketball

As high school basketball seasons begin to wrap up, the focus for many uncommitted players will shift to choosing their collegiate destination.

There are several names left on the board for the Kentucky Wildcats, but it seems they are losing ground with one of their prime targets, Matthew Hurt.

The Kansas Jayhawks have long been viewed as the favorit and still lead the 247 Crystal Ball and Rivals predictions. However, another blud blood may be sneaking into the lead: The Duke Blue Devils.

“It still seems like we are weeks, if not months away from a decision from Hurt,” Brian Snow of 247Sports wrote. “While this recruitment has proven to be tough to handicap, Duke and Kansas seem to be the schools with the must behind the scenes buzz, though at the end of the day, none of the four that he has visited would come as a surprise if they are the ultimate choice.”

Hurt is still considering Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina. It’s basically a blue-blood Russian roulette. While Kansas has long been thought to be the favorite, it seem Duke is gaining some serious momentum, as even Evan Daniels thinks Duke is jumping ahead.

“We’re heading down the homestretch, and he’s (Hurt) considering a handful of blue bloods,” Daniels told Kyle Tucker of The Athletic. “If I were to pick a favorite, I would go with Duke. But he hasn’t made a choice, he doesn’t appear to be close to making a choice, and Kentucky is still certainly in the mix.”

While Kentucky fans certainly hope John Calipari still has a puncher's chance to get Hurt on board, it seems they are playing from behind for the time being.

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise with Kentucky drawing a lot of buzz for Isaiah Todd, who is likely to move into 2020 with the Wildcats being his leader. Hurt and Todd are two different types of players, but they’re both five-star big man looking to potentially join a Kentucky frontcourt that should have former five-star bigs Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery back next season.

Then you’ve got Kentucky jumping into the lead for five-star forward Keion Brooks, who is more of a wing but can play the 4 in small-ball lineups. It’s probably unreasonable to think Kentucky can get Brooks, Todd ‘and’ Hurt to join next year’s lineup, but you know Calipari won’t stop trying to make it happen.

Duke is also going to lose Zion Williamson and have only Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier as proven bigs returning next season to pair with five-star center Vernon Carey. It’s a lot easier to sell playing time in that frontcourt vs. what Kentucky could have.

Be sure to read Tucker’s full piece for more insight on Kentucky’s remaining targets in the Class of 2019.

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