Top-30 senior Mark Mitchell announced his commitment to Duke on Friday, potentially giving the Blue Devils and coach-in-waiting Jon Scheyer the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
Mitchell chose Duke over a final list that included UCLA and Missouri, although it was a recruitment that shifted back and forth between the Blue Devils and Bruins over the past few months. Early in the fall, UCLA looked like it had the momentum and was perhaps the favorite for Mitchell’s commitment, but the race tightened following his attendance at Duke’s “Countdown to Craziness” event in October.
A 6-foot-8 forward from Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas), Mitchell is ranked No. 30 in the ESPN 100 for 2022. He’s ranked as the No. 3 power forward in the class.
“Mitchell is a lefty who displays strong slashing ability as he can catch, rip and drive with power and excellent footwork,” said Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s national recruiting director. “Once he gets near the paint, he will rise up and shoot over defenders or finish at the rim with explosive bounce. His face-up game is dependable from mid-range and he has shown promise behind the arc.
“Defensively, he is comfortable guarding big guards through power forwards and switches well with lateral foot speed and length. Perhaps his best skill is passing the ball. From anywhere on the court, he has great passing instincts and accuracy.”
Mitchell is Duke’s fifth ESPN 100 recruit in the 2022 class, and the fourth ranked in the top 30. He joins Dereck Lively (No. 2), Dariq Whitehead (No. 5), Kyle Filipowski (No. 10) and Jaden Schutt (No. 47), all of whom signed letters of intent during the early signing period.
Exiting the signing period, Kentucky held the No. 1 class in 2022, passing Duke and Arkansas following the commitment of top-10 point guard Cason Wallace. But top-ranked senior Shaedon Sharpe is expected to enroll at Kentucky following the end of the first semester, which could impact the player and class rankings.
Scheyer, who was named Duke’s next head coach following Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement announcement last spring, will take over the program after this season. He took the lead on Duke’s 2022 recruiting class, with Krzyzewski opting to stay at home during the evaluation periods in June and July.
“I know firsthand the expectations of the job. Our recruiting has had a few iterations since I’ve been here, but the consistent thing is recruiting great players, great people,” Scheyer told ESPN in early July. “That’s not going to change. You talk about a lot of things as a coach, but the best thing you can do is get the best players. Players that want to win. That’s not changing for us. I believe in what we have here; I believe in the school.”