Normally, if you lost picks #1, #15, #16, #26, and #42 in the NBA draft and only brought back two scholarship players and only one initiator, not to mention losing your longtime head coach, you’d be in trouble.
A deep and profound problem.
But that’s Duke, and Duke might be able to make it happen.
The Blue Devils sent Paulo Banchero, Mark Williams, A. Griffin Griffin and Wendell Moore to the NBA in the first round, while Trevor Keels went in the second round.
Only Jeremy Roach and Jaylene Blakes made a comeback, and while Roach started and was fantastic along the stretch, the Blakes only had 95 minutes all season.
Then there’s the loss to legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, which we discussed in the first part of Duke’s preview.
As we’ve seen for over a decade now, Duke is recruiting at a very high level and this year basically brings a whole new roster with enough talent to rank in the top ten pre-season in most polls.
This is a young group, so Scheyer has collected some experienced transfers as well. a look! Everyone is in transition!
Kale Catchings, 6-6/210, played with Tommy Amaker at Harvard. He often saw 6-4/210 Max Jones, who was at Princeton. Ryan Young, 6-10/240, came from Northwestern where he played with Chris Collins, while Jacob Grandison, 6-6/210, was a contender for the Big Ten in Illinois.
Those are the pieces. So let’s take a closer look.
At the start of last season, Roach wasn’t a great player. Against Lafayette, a relatively weak opponent, he shot 0-6 and did not score. Against Gonzaga, he was only 3 to 13 years old.
But along the stretch, he really raised it. He started driving in a way we had never seen before. It’s not Alan Iverson or Isaiah Thomas, but his engines were as brave as theirs. His confidence and production soared that he could even go into recruitment. It could have been a lower pick but had a legitimate shot.
In the end he decided to come back and improve his game even more. If he can continue to advance and also successfully lead a very small team, his odds of winning in the first round increase.
Blakes was talented but obviously raw last season. I’ve seen glimpses of his potential but he has work to do. From the little we’ve seen of him in the video over the summer, it looks like he’s worked really hard. His attack was far beyond his defense, and defense, like Jordan Goldwire before him, was where he could start building a role.
And that’s about the returnees, although we’re still curious about Stanley Borden walking 7-0.
After a difficult Covid season, Mike Krzyzewski decided not to bring in too many transfers, opting to bet on his companions. Theo John and Bates Jones have added, but that’s it. John was at times a great support for Mark Williams who added some big solidity. Jones didn’t play long minutes, but when he came in, he was smart and reliable.
Shire seems to think bringing in older players was a good idea for this group and Grandison is the main catch. He came up the hard way with just one scholarship offer that we think is from Holy Cross. From there he moved to Illinois, where he excelled. He’s a fantastic three-pointer, making 41 percent last season for Illini’s.
Youth has been a revelation. We’ve only seen a clear video, but he’s very smart about basketball. He’s been tutoring the big little roosters, sneaking up behind them and catching them off guard and at times looking good enough to start. He probably won’t do this year, but he has two years left.
It won’t block shots or dominate physically, but you can’t simply ignore it because it will burn you. He’s one of those broad guys who knows he can’t get dunked in your face, but who knows exactly how much space he has to work with and use it all. He’s also really good at things we don’t always notice but coaches do, like boxing fast. He will help and maybe a lot.
It reminds us a bit of Loyola’s great Cameron Krutwig who was a brilliant and intelligent player with limited physical ability. He should be a role model for Young and the two of them might know each other because they both lived near Chicago to play little ball.
Catchings was a strong player at Harvard. It’s powerful and this would be a versatile Scheyer theme. He might not start, but he can. Duke won’t drop much when he comes around. It’s not as good a shooter as Grandison’s, but it’s also not bad, with a 36.5 percent score. Oddly though, he’s a terrible free-throw shooter with a score of only 56.1 percent. He can act as a defensive stopper as well.
Jacking comes from a basketball family – Grandfather Harvey had a long career in the NBA. His mother, Tamika, had an impressive career in Tennessee and with the Indiana Pfeiffer. Her sister also played college (Illinois) basketball, and her cousin played in Eastern Illinois. Callie’s stepfather plays in Buffalo. Like we said, a basketball family.
Johns is not expected to play much but to be a mostly coaching player. Even if that was his role, he could still be very useful. There is a lot to learn for young players, from stations to expectations and there are also benchmarks off the field. Like last season’s Jones, or Justin Robinson, perhaps Duke’s best walk ever, Johns can have a huge impact behind the scenes.
This brings us to the new students.
Judging new students before they establish themselves is difficult. The great class with Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones is better than most classes. It is completely related to the strength of the class in general. However, this should also be fine.
Scheyer brings in 7-1/215 lb. Dereck Lively, 6-11/22 Kyle Filipowski, 6-7/215 Mark Mitchell, 6-6/190 lb. Dariq Whitehead (see below for more on Whitehead’s potential growth), 6-5/178 Therese Proctor, 6-4/175 Jaden Schutt, and 6-11/210 Christian Reeves.
Lively, big, tall and skilled man. He is a defensive goalkeeper, mobile and skilled in attack. We haven’t seen much of him yet, but he will need to beef up his muscles to reach his potential. He’s a little thinner than Mark Williams, and as you might remember, Williams was pushed as a freshman. From what we’ve seen so far, Lively will be at a disadvantage against more physical players. He will change as he matures, but at the moment he does not have enough strength to respond and tends to shy away from contact.
That would be less of a problem for Filipovsky. Flip, as it is called, has comprehensive and solid skills. He can handle the ball, and he can work in a high or low position. He’s stronger than Lively but still more likely to hold onto the periphery, or at least that’s what he looks like now. Either of these guys has the ability to deflect defenders from the basket, as do a number of Duke players, but having top players doing so means easy penetration by Whitehead, Roach and Mitchell, among others.
Filippovsky’s brother, Matt, plays for Amaker at Harvard. The two brothers played water polo in high school which definitely contributed to their physical maturity. Filipowski has a power that Lively can only dream of at this point.
Both his parents played college ball and his mom Rebecca was a sensation in high school, setting a New York state record with 2,164 points. His uncle and uncle also played college ball.
Dariq Whitehead is an elite talent and a 6-6 year old man who can guard four jobs. Whitehead’s design might remind you a bit of Jimmy Butler although he’s probably more comfortable in the back area. The three points his teammates will provide should open the field to him in a major way and he will defeat a lot of players from dribbling. He injured his foot over the summer and is still recovering, but should come back after a long time. When he’s 100 percent, he’ll probably start. He seems to be Duke’s best athlete.
By the way, while he’s listed at 6-6 and 190, which we did at the top, Duke now has him at 6-8 and 220, which makes him a completely different player if that’s true. We assumed he could play as both a goalkeeper and a junior striker. If he was that big, he could play four positions and probably five. His brother Taher had a respectable career in the NFL. He played 6-1 and about 240. His mother seems like a wonderful woman.
Australian Proctor was supposed to be at Duke next year, but when Trevor Kells decided to jump into the NBA, as would potential transfer AJ Green as well, he re-ranked and voila! Duke’s class just got a lot better.
The son of Dinky Proctor who played in NC State for Jim Valvano, Tyrese brings point guarding skills and impressive overall gameplay. Like most of the players on this list, variety is a big part of his game and like many of the others, he shoots really well on the outside. He and Grandison should help Duke’s attack a lot. And while this may be his immediate contribution, he is a smart player who will find ways to cope with it.
Last summer, Proctor played for the Australian national team, along with former blue devil Jack White, and gained invaluable experience against temperamental adult men (you should watch these matches closely. Several international players have marginal talent and make up for it in rudeness.) ).
Most people don’t know this now, but before the injuries occurred, Dinky was very promising. We’re sure Tyrese has drawn heavily on his father’s knowledge of the game and will be a relatively sophisticated young player.
For his part, Mitchell possesses a solid set of skills. He can shoot and handle the ball and is also a nice passer. He is said to have done well this summer and is a candidate to start. At least, he’ll play a lot. We love his instincts. He is a fast and unselfish passerby. It also shoots well.
He grew up in Kansas City, which is about 40 minutes from Lawrence and less than two hours from Mizu. This is a nice pickup, somewhat like the Vic Poppas who got Jeff Mullins and Bill Foster in Vince Taylor: They were both from Lexington, Kentucky and definitely were expected to be Wildcats.
Like most freshmen, he is skinny and needs to bulk up.
The shot is pronounced by the throw and shoots the shot. He’s studied JJ Redick’s form and while he may not have quite the golden arm like Redick’s, he’s really good.
He’s also been driving and a gym rat. He even started adjusting his diet which is something most athletes start doing when asked in college, if at all. Its drive and intensity are really interesting. It’s hard to say how far he can go with his game, but these are invaluable and intangible things. We will not bet on him.
It’s also interesting because if you look at the early training videos, it’s clear that he was really trying to figure things out and was conservative. Well, it isn’t anymore. He went from an unknown recruit in a private school to someone who could compete at that level and did so in just a couple of months.
It’s almost certain that Reeves will qualify for the shirt As mentioned, but don’t forget it. He can really get out of the way and play against three big guys this year will only help. With a year against Lively, Filipowski and Young in practice, and maybe 25 pounds, he’d be a completely different player.
Duke’s priority now is to get Whitehead back. He is the best talent on the team and, unlike most beginners, he is physically mature.
Even without him, Duke Mitchell, Grandison, Proctor and Catchings have, who can deliver most of what Whitehead does by the commission, though none of them are athletic.
Duke has a lot of talent but there are also a lot of questions. If this were Krzyzewski’s team, we have a pretty good idea of what he might be doing. But it clearly isn’t. This is Jon Scheyer’s team and while he’s learned great things from Coach K, he’s not Krzyzewski.
There’s a lot we won’t know until the start of the season, but in Part Three we’ll start discussing Scheyer’s era in Duke Basketball and where things might go.