Is Myck Kabongo Following Austin Rivers' Path to Duke?

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Is Myck Kabongo Following Austin Rivers' Path to Duke?

On Saturday, class of 2011 No. 2 point guard Myck Kabongo made it public that he is no longer committed to the Texas Longhorns.  He is considering Texas, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Syracuse.

For some time, there had been rumblings about Kabongo's love for Texas waning, but now its official—the 2011 recruiting scene just got a lot more interesting.

Kabongo is a close friend of recent 2011 Duke commit Austin Rivers.  The two have talked extensively about wanting to play together, and their respective recruiting journeys share obvious similarities.

There were rumblings about Rivers decommitting from Florida for months prior to his decision to attend Duke, but he maintained firmly in interviews that his commitment to the Gators was solid.  Just a few months ago, when there was a lot of talk of him leaving Texas, Kabongo told the press that he was firmly committed to the Longhorns.

Granted, there was a lot more writing on the wall with Rivers (he visited Duke multiple times before he decommitted from Florida) than with Kabongo, but the similarities are there.  Heck, they both listed Kentucky and North Carolina as schools they were considering along with Duke.

Will Kabongo continue following Austin's path to Duke, or is he headed elsewhere?

It's impossible to tell at this point, but the Blue Devils have a lot going for them in the race to secure Kabongo's services.

For starters, there is the obvious closeness of Kabongo and Rivers.

It's not uncommon for highly ranked players to talk about playing together.  In fact, it happens all the time.  Those recruits actually going to the same school happens a lot less often.  Harrison Barnes and Kyrie Irving are a great recent example of this.

That said, it definitely doesn't hurt Duke's chances to have Rivers on board.

The Blue Devils will also likely have an immediate starting position available for Kabongo if he were to choose Duke.

The only thing that will keep Irving at Duke for more than one season is an NBA lockout.  The lockout is by no means a guarantee, nor is it a guarantee that Irving wouldn't go ahead and enter the draft even if it were to happen.

With current Duke freshman Tyler Thornton being the only other true point guard on Duke's roster, Kabongo would undoubtedly be the top option at the point for the Blue Devils in 2011.  That's not a knock to Thornton, but Kabongo is on a different level.

The Blue Devils have been recruiting 2011 point guard Quinn Cook pretty hard, and a lot of people expected Cook to commit to Duke two weeks ago.  There has been talk, however, that Cook has been cooling on Duke lately.  Could Kabongo's interest in Duke be part of the reason Cook has decided to wait on his decision?

Some of the other schools on Kabongo's list aren't as much of a sure thing in terms of point guard minutes.

Kentucky already has Marquis Teague, the only point guard in the 2011 class rated higher than Kabongo, locked up.  And if Irving were to stay due to an NBA lockout, the same would likely be true for Kentucky's Brandon Knight as well.  That would give the Wildcats two star point guards, making extra minutes at the point scarce.

North Carolina doesn't have a point guard at the level of Knight or Teague, but they will have two former McDonald's All-American point guards on the roster in 2011.  Larry Drew II will be a senior and Kendall Marshall will be a sophomore.

Kabongo is a bigger talent than both Drew and Marshall, but neither of the Tar Heel point guards are a threat to leave early for the NBA.  Unless one is planning on transferring, Roy Williams will have to sell Kabongo on being the youngest member of a three-player rotation at the point.

Aside from potential playing time, there are other things in Duke's favor for Kabongo.

The Blue Devils have the momentum of a national championship, the media hype of being the top team in the nation coming into this season, and the ability to point to what they will be doing with Irving offensively.

Kabongo is an athletic, quick guard in the same mold as Irving.  There's no doubt Kabongo will take notice of the style of play Duke uses with Irving.  That's a good thing for Duke.

Watching Kabongo's recruitment play out will be interesting to say the least.  He's the kind of talent that will make whichever school he chooses better the moment he steps on campus.

Will he follow Rivers to Duke, or will he go elsewhere?

Time will tell, but you can't ignore the signs.

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