Elite junior Mackenzie Mgbako verbally commits to Duke, giving Blue Devils five five-star commits in 2023 class

Elite junior Mackenzie Mgbako announced his commitment to Duke on Friday, giving the Blue Devils five five-star pledges in the 2023 class, including two in just over 24 hours.

Five-star junior point guard Tyrese Proctor, an Australia native, committed to Duke on Thursday night.

Mgbako picked Duke over a final four that also included Kentucky, Ohio State and Memphis.

“I believe it’s his best fit. The style of play fits him very well,” said Mergin Sina, Mgbako’s coach at Gill St. Bernard’s School in New Jersey. “They plan on playing a spread-style offense. Mackenzie brings a lot of versatility on both ends. When Duke recruited him, the whole staff came. They were very serious early in the process.”

A 6-foot-8 small forward from New Jersey, Mgbako is ranked No. 3 in the 2023 class — and the No. 1 small forward in the country. Playing up an age group last summer, Mgbako averaged 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 12 games with the NJ Scholars grassroots program on the Nike EYBL circuit.

Mgbako made a name for himself as a spot-up shooter, finisher and someone who was impactful in the transition game. His jumper features strong leg elevation, shot preparation and shot mechanics.

He will be effective in multiple spots as a shooter. Mgbako is a dangerous shooter because he combines excellent positional size as a small forward with a clean release and confident mechanics.

He can be utilized in dribble hand-offs, ball-screens or spotting up off dribble penetration and running off screens. His jumper sets up his drive game.

The next step for him is to become more fluid with the ball to shake defenders after catching in the half-court.

“His ball-handling and rebounding has taken the next step,” Sina said. “He’s a gym rat who is always in the gym.”

Mgbako is the highest-ranked junior already committed at this point in the cycle. Joining Mgbako and Proctor are Sean Stewart (No. 13), Caleb Foster (No. 19) and Jared McCain (No. 22).

Of the nine five-star players committed in 2023, five are headed to Durham. New Duke coach Jon Scheyer landed the No. 1 recruiting class in 2022 — and now has a huge lead in the race to be No. 1 in 2023.

Of the 11 players who have committed to the Blue Devils since Scheyer was named coach-in-waiting, eight were ranked as five-star prospects, with 10 of the 11 inside the ESPN 100.

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