Updated: Oct 11, 2021
The elite center Dereck Lively, who was the top uncommitted player from the class of 2022, made his college intentions known when he committed to Duke University on Monday. This gives the Blue Devils the edge as the no.1 recruiting class thus far in 2022, which will be the first in the post Mike Kryzewski era with Jon Scheyer as the heir to the throne after this upcoming 2021-22 college season.
Lively chose Duke over schools like Kentucky, Penn State, where his mother Kathy Drysdale, was a 1,000 point scorer, Michigan, and so on. Lively stated, "I like the whole idea of the Brotherhood, Duke basketball and Duke University," Lively told ESPN. "I believe next year's team has a chance to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament and maybe a national championship. After my playing career, a Duke degree is important to me." Lively is the first player to be offered a scholarship offer in the soon to be Scheyer era.
He made these comments on Scheyer stating, "We developed a real good connection," Lively said of Scheyer. "[Their plan is to] help me develop to become an NBA player. To help me master my game on the perimeter and inside-out." Lively is a 7-foot-1 center from Westtown high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is ranked second in the ESPN 100 ranking for the class of 2022 and rose quickly in the rankings this past spring and early summer into five-star status, becoming a real threat for No.1 after an impressive July performance at the Nike EYBL Circuit with Team Final.
He's one of the most elite defensive players in the 2022 class, leading the EYBL in blocks at 3.7 per game. Lively also added 8.4 points and 6.7 rebounds, while also making 11 3-pointers in 15 games. He had 13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the Peach Jam championship game.
Lively has made steady progress in his game the last two years with his impressive mobility, agility, and skill at his size. He has a 7-foot-8 wingspan, which would be right up there among the top in the NBA alongside Rudy Gobert and Mo Bamba. He’s an amazing rim-protector with soft hands and great ability to catch lobs. As he grows more comfortable creating his own shot, adding more muscle to his frame, and adding the 3 ball more consistently, he will make a NBA lottery team very happy in 2023, the year he is first draft eligible.
Lively is Scheyer's third five-star commitment in the 2022 class, and gives Duke the edge over Kentucky for the No. 1 class. He joins top-ranked small forward Dariq Whitehead (No. 5 overall), skilled center Kyle Filipowski (No. 10) and outstanding 3-point shooter Jaden Schutt (No. 47) in the Blue Devils' group. Duke also landed five-star point guard Caleb Foster last week to start its 2023 class.
Overall, Lively is a prospect to keep an eye on over the next two years as he is the modern big man a lot of teams are looking for in today's game because of his elite rim-protection, mobility, and untapped offensive potential.