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Roselle Catholic (New Jersey) senior Mackenize Mgbako has requested to be released from his National Letter of Intent from Duke. He announced the news in a post on his Twitter account

Mgbako and Bronny James are now the last class of 2023 boys basketball recruits to remain uncommitted. 

"While I have great appreciation and respect for the Duke coaching staff and fans for their interest in me, 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," Mgbako said in his statement on social media. 

Mgbako, a 6-foot-8 210-pound five-star small forward, is ranked as the nation's No. 6 overall prospect in 2023, No. 3 small forward and New Jersey's No. 3 overall prospect according to On3

Before ultimately committing to the Blue Devils, Mgbako was also considering Ohio State, Kentucky and Memphis.

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) plays a significant role in a recruit's decisions to either commit, transfer or de-commit to a school. NIL also affects college basketball players' decisions to either enter the NBA Draft or continue to play in the college ranks. 

Duke freshman Kyle Filipowski, a dynamic 7-foot shooting forward, chose to return to the Blue Devils despite being a projected first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. 

Filipowski's return potentially was a huge factor in Mgbako's departure, but either way, Mgbako will make an impact wherever he ends up. 

What are the potential landing spots for Mgbako?

No. 1 Kentucky 

Head coach Jon Calipari has compiled the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for 2023 according to On3. Four five-star prospects in point guard DJ Wagner, small forward Justin Edwards, center Aaron Bradshaw and combo guard Rob Dillingham along with four-star McDonald's All-American Reed Sheppard make up the Wildcats' incoming freshman class. 

Mgbako had the chance to play with Wagner, Bradshaw, and Sheppard at the 2023 McDonald's All-American Game a couple of weeks ago, and playing with that kind of talent could be intriguing to Mgbako at the very least. 

The Wildcats were also a part of the five-star small forward's final four schools, and it's hard not to assume that Coach Cal hasn't already reached out to Mgbako to come down to Lexington. 

No. 2 Louisville 

The Louisville Cardinals and head coach Kenny Payne have put together an unbelievable offseason thus far. Four-star small forward Kaleb Glenn, four-star center Dennis Evans and three-star small forward Curtis Williams Jr. make up the Cardinals' true class of 2023 commits. Five-star 6-foot-8 wing Trentyn Flowers committed to Louisville originally as part of the class of 2024, but announced that he will reclassify from 2024 into the class of 2023 at the beginning of March. 

The Cardinals also picked up former five-star recruit and Illinois freshman point guard Skyy Clark in the transfer portal, which helped them climb to having the No. 13 recruiting class in the country. 

Mgbako would be a great additional piece for the Cardinals in their rebuilding phase, and he would have all the tools around him to become a star in this young and talented roster. 

No. 3 Ohio State

The Buckeyes' 2023 recruiting class currently sits at No. 10 in the nation, headlined by four-star small forward Scotty Middleton and four-star power forward Devin Royal

In addition to Kentucky, Mgbako also had Ohio State in his top four schools. The Buckeyes' incoming class might not consist of the 'biggest' and 'most popular' names in the world, but make no mistake there is a vast amount of talent headed to Columbus. 

No. 4 G-League Ignite

The G-League Ignite has a proven track record of producing solid NBA talent in only their third year of being an organization. The Ignite offers players an alternative route to college basketball or playing overseas for a season before declaring for the NBA Draft. Current NBA players such as Houston Rockets' Jalen Green (2021 No. 2 overall pick), Golden State Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga (2021 No. 7 overall pick) and the Dallas Mavericks' Jaden Hardy (2022 No. 37 overall pick) are all former players that came out of the G-League Ignite. This year, Scoot Henderson, Sidy Cissoko and Leonard Miller are all projected first-round picks in the 2023 NBA Draft. 

The resume the Ignite have put together in such a short amount of time is outstanding, and with Mackenize Mgbako's main goal being to play in the NBA, he could be more willing to go down this route than the traditional NCAA route. If Mgbako did choose to commit to the G-League Ignite, he would join the nation's No. 5 overall prospect in 2023, Matas Buzelis, next season. 

No. 5 Memphis 

The Memphis Tigers are the most unlikely destination for Mackenzie Mgbako, but anything is possible in the college basketball world. The Tigers have six incoming freshmen and four transfers coming to Memphis next season, so roster spots are extremely limited, especially considering the level of talent head coach Penny Hardaway was able to land. 

The Tigers' 2023 recruiting class is ranked as the No. 16 class in the nation - headlined by Penny Hardaway's son four-star power forward Ashton Hardaway, four-star combo guard Mikey Williams, four-star small forward JJ Taylor, and four-star point guard Ty-Laur Johnson. 

Former Florida State shooting guard Caleb Mills and former Middle Tennessee small forward Teafale Lenard are the most notable transfer portal prospects that will be in Memphis this upcoming season. 

In addition to Kentucky and Ohio State, Memphis was the final school in Mgbako's original top four schools before committing to Duke. There is potential for the 6-foot-8 five-star small forward to play huge minutes for Penny Hardaway, but the current roster might even be too crowded for Mgbako's liking. 

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