Jon Scheyer’s strong early start to his Duke head coaching career on the recruiting trail jumped another level on Monday.
Dereck Lively II, a five-star center rated as the No. 2 player in the class of 2022, committed to play for Scheyer and the Blue Devils next season.
The 7-1, 220-pound center made his commitment via Instagram Live from his high school, Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Lively chose Duke over six other finalists, including Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida State, Michigan, Southern California and Penn State.
In the process, he gives the Blue Devils the presumptive No. 1 recruiting class nationally for 2022. Duke was already rated No. 3 nationally by 247sports.com behind Kentucky and North Carolina before Lively chose the Blue Devils over those two schools.
ESPN had Duke ranked No. 2 in its rankings, behind Kentucky, prior to Lively’s commitment. Lively was the final five-star player available in the class.
The fourth player from the 2022 class to commit to play for Scheyer when he takes over as Duke’s head coach when Mike Krzyzewski retires next spring, Lively joins fellow five-star players Kyle Filipowski and Dariq Whitehead in Duke’s recruiting class. The fourth player is four-star shooting guard Jaden Schutt from Yorkville, Illinois.
Filipowski, a 6-11 center from suburban New York who attends Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Massachusetts, was the first player to commit to Duke since Krzyzewski announced his retirement plans.
Though he’s also a frontcourt player, Filipowski worked hard since his July commitment to add Lively to the class, telling the News & Observer on Monday “I’ve been probably annoying him the most.”
“We kind of connected a lot more playing AAU against each other a lot,” said Filipowski, who played for the New York Rens and faced Lively’s Team Final this summer. “We’ve just become really good friends off the court, too.”
Lively averaged 8.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for Team Final in Nike EYBL play over the summer. He shared the frontcourt on Team Final with Jalen Duren, a 6-10 forward who reclassified into the Class of 2021 and enrolled at Memphis.
Lively also averaged 3.7 blocked shots per game for Team Final and was named the top defensive player on the grassroots summer circuit.
Filipowski envisions he and Lively on the court together at Duke, saying they could be “the best front court in the country with just how we complement each other’s games.”
“We are two completely different players,” Filipowski said. “We could go high-low with each other. I really don’t think he could have a better big man to play with than me in the country. Just how well we can play together. I see something special happening.”
This is the second time in recent years Duke has landed a star prospect from Westtown School.
That’s the same school that produced Cam Reddish, who started for Duke’s 2019 ACC championship team along with fellow freshmen and 2019 NBA Draft first-round picks Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.