Duke’s busy offseason continues.
Jordan Tucker, a four-star wing, picked Duke over Syracuse on Saturday. The addition, Duke’s fifth in the incoming freshmen class, gives the Blue Devils a shot of good news after a difficult week.
Forward Kevin Knox, a top 10 recruit, opted for Kentucky (over Duke and North Carolina) last Saturday and guard Frank Jackson, who averaged 10.9 points per game as a freshman for the Blue Devils, decided to stay in the NBA draft for good after a strong showing at the combine on Friday.
Tucker, a 6-7, 205-pound small forward, is ranked No. 77 in the class of 2017 by 247Sports. The White Plains, N.Y., native had told Scout.com earlier this week that he was headed to Syracuse, but Duke made a hard, late push after missing out on Knox.
“When weighing in all the factors, one school has the right combination of great academics and basketball,” Tucker wrote on his Twitter account. “It feels like the best decision and fit for me.”
Tucker gives Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski another scoring option on the wing after losing Jayson Tatum and Jackson. Tucker spent his senior high school season at Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler. He joins freshman forward Wendell Carter (No. 6 in the class) and freshman shooting guard Gary Trent (No. 16), who are expected to be Duke’s top players next season.
It’s a tough loss for Syracuse, who had spent four years recruiting Tucker, but that’s the reality of recruiting against Duke lately under Krzyzewski.
“I know people may not agree with my decision, but I’m just a kid from White Plains, NY following his dreams!” Tucker wrote on Twitter.
The roster makeover from the Blue Devils’ 28-win, ACC championship team continues. Jackson joins Tatum, Luke Kennard and Harry Giles as Duke underclassmen in the draft. Counting seniors Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones, and transfers Chase Jeter and Sean Obi, Duke will have to replace eight scholarship players and seven of its top eight scorers from last season.
In addition to Carter, Trent and Tucker, Duke has also signed shooting guard Alex O’Connell (No. 64) and guard Jordan Goldwire, a rare Duke recruit who is ranked outside the top 100 (No. 372, according to 247Sports).
Duke could still add another freshman to the mix. Trevon Duval, a 6-3, 190-pound point guard at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as the fifth-best player in the class. Duval is expected to make his choice from Duke, Arizona, Baylor, Kansas and Seton Hall.
Guard Grayson Allen, who will be a senior, is the only returning Duke player who averaged more than 10 minutes per game last season. Forwards Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White are Duke’s other returning scholarship players.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio