Five-star Class of 2022 prospect Dereck Lively II announced he will make his college commitment on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Lively II has a final seven comprised of Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, USC, Michigan, Penn State and Florida State, but heading into his decision, it appears to be a two-team battle between Kentucky and Duke.
Whichever team wins over Lively may ultimately use the decision as a way to tip the scales in their favor for the No. 1 class in 2022.
For Kentucky, it’d be a boon in a month filled with them. Five-star Chris Livingston committed to Kentucky last week and Shaedon Sharpe — the No. 1 player in the class — did so the week prior. The Wildcats sit right now in the driver’s seat to secure the No. 1 class in the team rankings.
Duke’s had its own successes, though, with two five-stars already committed in 2022 as the foundation of a class poised to potentially unseat Kentucky at No. 1 should Lively go with the Blue Devils.
Here’s a look at his final options and where things stand heading into the big commitment.
The contenders: Duke and Kentucky
Kentucky gained some serious momentum here with Lively as it accumulated star power in recent weeks, first week No. 1 prospect Shaedon Sharpe and most recently with Chris Livingston. That has flipped Duke’s direction over the weekend leading into his decision, though, with the Blue Devils primed to pluck Lively out of PA.
The presumption as UK gained steam in this head-to-head battle was that Kentucky, which does not have a committed center, would have an edge over Duke, which has 6-foot-11 Kyle Filipowski committed. However, Duke appears positioned to grab two elite bigs in the class with a potentially significant blue-blooded battle win over Kentucky coming Monday.
The darkhorses: Penn State and North Carolina
Lively is a Pennsylvania product and Penn State — all the way back in April of 2019 — was his first scholarship offer. So the idea of staying in-state and close to home is something he’s admitted is appealing to him. North Carolina’s in a vastly different situation having entered this race late but Hubert Davis and UNC scored an official visit earlier this summer to give him something to think about.
The best of the rest: Michigan, Florida State, USC
This trio looks to be on the outside looking in for Lively leading into Monday. It’s not for lack of trying — each of the staffs here have been recruiting him for quite some time — but none of these three secured official visits, and it seems unlikely a blind commitment would come without having first been given the royal treatment on campus first.
The prediction: Duke
Duke landed the final official visit for Lively late in the summer and Duke assistant coach Jon Scheyer, Mike Krzyzewski’s successor, also made it a point to see the five-star recruit last week at his high school in Pennsylvania. It seems things are trending Duke’s way. Kentucky is still in play, and the Wildcats making a late push wouldn’t surprise, but the Blue Devils are in position to pull the No. 2 overall recruit from UK as things stand.