Duke recruit Baker reclassifies, joins loaded class

Fayetteville joins the nation's top recruiting haul

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts to an official's call in the second half of the NCAA Division I men's basketball second round tournament game against Yale at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence. (Eamon Queeney / —North State Journal)

Duke’s already loaded recruiting class just got even deeper.

Forward Joey Baker, who was committed to join the Blue Devils for the 2019-20 season, reclassified his year on Wednesday and will enroll in school this fall.

“The coaching staff and I felt it was the best option for this upcoming year,” Baker told ESPN. “I’ll be challenged to grow on and off the court.”

He confirmed the decision by tweeting Wednesday, “I’m coming early #thebrotherhood,” with a photo of him bearing the caption, “Joey Baker, Class of ’18”

Baker, from Trinity Christian School in Fayetteville, was ranked 15th in the class of 2019 by ESPN and 32nd by Rivals.

Montverde (Fla.) Academy forward R.J. Barrett, Spartanburg (S.C.) Day School forward Zion Williamson and Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.) guard Cam Reddish, the consensus top-three prep players in the country, are all set to join Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski this fall.

The Blue Devils’ incoming class also includes Apple Valley (Minn.) guard Tre Jones, regarded as one of the nation’s top 15 prospects.

All five should get ample opportunities for playing time as Duke’s entire starting five from last season won’t return. Four freshmen — Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter, Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval — and senior Grayson Allen are all headed for the NBA.

Right after the Final Four, Las Vegas established Duke as the favorite to win next year’s national title, even with none of its starters returning. The Blue Devils were on top at 5-1. Next on the list were Villanova, Kansas and Kentucky, all at 8-1.

Duke went 29-8 last season, finishing second to Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference and losing to Kansas in overtime in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.