Fayetteville star headed to Duke a year early

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- Duke's 2018 recruiting class is already the stuff of legend what with every one of the top three players - RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish - already ticketed for Durham, not to mention top point guard and Duke legacy Tre Jones.

Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Devils got even stronger, taking an advance out on their 2019 recruiting paycheck.

Five-star wing Joey Baker of Fayetteville announced that he's reclassifying, and will instead head to Duke this fall.

It's an interesting move as Baker is certainly a talent, but not one of the level of his 2018 teammates, so playing time may be non-existent. Here's the thing - he's OK with that.

Baker told 247 Sports that "I think it'll help me tremendously. Playing against the top three players, RJ, Cam and Zion every day in practice and learning from them and competing with them is going to force me to really grow as a basketball player. I'll learn a ton from them and get a lot better."

So much so that he's open to possibly redshirting next season, though any decision on that front he says wouldn't be made until October or November, once he gets a sense of where he stands in practice.

Duke assistant Jon Scheyer convinced Baker that arriving early, whether he ultimately plays or not, is still the best option for his development.

"I talked to the coaches about it and we figured it was the best decision for my basketball game and off the court growth as well, like in the classroom and socially," Baker said. "I feel like it will challenge me in all of those aspects and allow me to grow a lot faster than I would."
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