Duke basketball adds a 6-11 center to its No. 1-ranked 2024 recruiting class

From left Duke recruits Cooper Flagg, VJ Edgecombe, Patrick Ngongba II,Isaiah Evans and Darren Harris, in front, watch the Blue Devils’ scrimmage during Duke basketball’s Countdown to Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., Friday, Oct. 20, 2023.

Duke basketball’s pipeline from Virginia’s Paul VI Catholic High School delivered another high-quality player Saturday.

Patrick Ngongba II, a 6-11, 235-pound center, committed to Duke for its talented 2024 recruiting class, picking the Blue Devils over his other finalists, Kansas State and Kentucky.

Ngongba joins current Duke guard Jeremy Roach, former Blue Devils guard Trevor Keels, and current four-star commit Darren Harris in picking Duke for college following his prep career at Paul VI Catholic in Fairfax, Virginia.

Rated a four-star recruit by 247sports.com, Ngongba is the No. 25 player in his class according to the 247sports Composite system that takes into account various recruiting rankings.

He’s the fifth commitment Duke head coach Jon Scheyer and his staff have added for their 2024 recruiting class, which is rated No. 1 nationally. In addition to Ngongba’s Paul VI teammate, 6-4 small forward Darren Harris, Duke also has three five-star commits in 6-9 forward Cooper Flagg (rated No. 1 nationally), 6-6 small forward Isaiah Evans (No. 11) and 6-5 small forward Kon Knueppel (No. 16).

Duke needed a player like Ngongba for next season’s team, with 6-10 graduate student center Ryan Young using his final season of eligibility this season and 7-0 sophomore center Kyle Filipowski expected to leave for the NBA.

Ngongba comes from an athletic family. His parents both played college basketball at George Washington, where his mother, Tajama Abraham Ngongba, graduated as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,134 points. After her WNBA career with the Sacramento Monarchs, she embarked on a college coaching career that included a stint as Radford’s head coach.

Tajama Ngongba’s father, Ralph Abraham, played at St. John’s and her brothers, Faisal Abraham and Nsilo Abraham, were college basketball players at Marquette and George Mason.

Living in the Virgin Islands in 1989, she and her brothers survived Hurricane Hugo’s direct hit before forging their college basketball careers. Tajama Ngongba, along with her parents, four siblings and a grandmother, took shelter from the Category 5 hurricane’s winds in an 8 x 12-foot commercial refrigerator in the kitchen of a Boy Scout camp her father ran on St. Croix.

Their home destroyed, the family relocated to Hampton, Virginia, after that harrowing experience.

Patrick Ngongba made his official visit to Duke on Oct. 20 for Countdown to Craziness, where he joined Flagg courtside for the team’s Blue-White Scrimmage. Ngongba also made recent official visits to Kentucky (Sept. 29), Connecticut (Oct. 13) and Kansas State (Oct. 27).

He trimmed his list of suitors to Duke, Kansas State and Kentucky on Oct. 25.

Scheyer and his Duke assistant coaches watched Ngongba closely last July at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League’s Peach Jam event in North Augusta, South Carolina. Playing for Team Takeover, Ngongba averaged 9.0 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing 19.6 minutes per game. He made 73.8% of his shots from the field.