The top two players in the class of 2022 are now both officially off the board.
5-star center Dereck Lively committed to the Duke Blue Devils on Monday.
This monumental decision comes just a few weeks removed from the nation’s top player, Shaedon Sharp, pledging his allegiance to the Kentucky Wildcats
247 Sports ranks Lively as the second-best player in America, and most consider him to have the highest ceiling of any prospect in the class.
The big man stands a towering 7-foot-1 and weighs 220 pounds. He couples that freakish size with tremendous athletic ability and feel for the game.
His offensive skills are already incredible for a young player of his size. By all indications, he’s just scratching the surface of his potential on that end of the floor.
Most believe his scoring package will continue to rapidly develop as he enters his final year of high school.
It should also be expected that the future Blue Devil will also be an eraser on the defensive end as well. When you’re a 7-footer who can run and jump like Lively can, it’ll be near impossible for his presence not to be felt while playing the college game.
Dereck Lively has the goods — point, blank, period.
Closing this deal was a major recruiting win for Duke assistant Jon Scheyer.
Despite being the second-ranked player in the class, it goes without saying that Lively has the potential to make a championship level impact during his one year in college.
Not to mention the idea that he could absolutely be the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which is never a bad thing for a program.
Lively’s entire recruitment was kept extremely quiet from the very beginning.
I believe that most people, even many college basketball insiders, had little to no information to go until the days before leading into the decision.
By that time, predictions came rolling in for Duke. Beginning with Travis Graf from Rivals swapping his pick from Kentucky to Duke at around noon on Saturday.
After that, the wind left the sails for Kentucky fans.
Now the Cats will move on to their next big man target in the 2022 class, Adem Bona, who Calipari reportedly visited on Sunday.
It’s been the general consensus for some time that Bona and Kentucky had mutual interest, but the decision of Dereck Lively loomed over them, causing a delay.
Now that Lively is headed to join Dariq Whitehead, Kyle Filipowski and Jaden Schutt at Duke, Kentucky will likely go all-in on Bona.
This’ll be a recruitment situation that plays a monster role in the ultimate makeup of Calipari’s 2022 squad.
Who knows — maybe Adem Bona is the exact type of player to pair with electric guards like Shaedon Sharpe and Skyy Clark and this works out to UK’s benefit. That’s certainly possibly, but there’s no way to spin losing Lively other than a significant loss.
The Cats will see Duke in the Champions Classic in less than one month and could get some quick revenge to soften this blow.