On the same day Duke retained a starter for next season’s front court, its top-rated recruit said he’ll play elsewhere.
Mackenzie Mgbako announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that he’s requested a release from the national letter of intent he signed with Duke last November.
The 6-8 Mgbako, rated the No. 7 player in the 2023 recruiting class, made his announcement less than an hour after 7-foot center Kyle Filipowski, last season’s ACC rookie of the year, said he’ll return to play for the Blue Devils as a sophomore.
“While I have great appreciation and respect for the Duke coaching staff and fans for their interest in me,” Mgbako said, “I feel that there will be other places for me to continue my basketball journey, so I will be re-opening the recruiting process to all schools.”
Duke will not contest Mgbako’s request, Duke coach Jon Scheyer said.
“I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Mackenzie and his family for quite some time,” Scheyer said. “He is an incredibly talented individual who possess all the qualities you’d want on your team. While it’s difficult knowing I won’t have the opportunity to coach Mackenzie, I know he has a bright future and I’m confident that any program will be fortunate to have him..”
A five-star recruit who played at Roselle Catholic High School in Gladstone, New Jersey, Mgbako was part of Duke’s five-player recruiting class that was rated No. 2 nationally. He made visits to Kentucky and Memphis last fall in addition to Duke.
Duke still has two other 6-8 forwards joining the program for next season in Sean Stewart and TJ Power. Stewart is the No. 13 player in the class while Power is No. 20.
Filipowski, who led Duke in scoring and rebounding last season, is joined by 6-10 graduate student Ryan Young as returning players on the interior. The Blue Devils will also have 6-8 forward Mark Mitchell, a starter on last season’s 29-7 ACC championship team, back for his sophomore year as well as 7-1 reserve sophomore center Christian Reeves.