Two Duke basketball players who will amaze the world next season
Although the 2022-23 Duke basketball frontcourt will feature two of the top five incoming freshmen at center Dereck Lively II and power forward Kyle Filipowski, the big men’s inexperience often becomes apparent at the University level. The lack of experience shouldn’t be so glaring, however, in the backcourt and on the wing.
Two Blue Devils stand out as playmakers who should anchor head coach Jon Scheyer’s first team from day one.
One is a junior and the other a rookie. So let’s take a look at each one and explain why they’re in an ideal position to stun many in the world of college basketball as true studs.
1. Jeremy Roach, Duke Basketball Junior Point Guard
It’s rare for a previously announced prep to stay at Duke for more than a season or two these days.
But two exceptions come to mind as prime examples of guards who rose to stardom as members of the upper class in Durham. The massive leaps of these players were crucial in the Blue Devils winning their last two national championships.
Nolan Smith went from 8.4 points per game as a sophomore to 17.4 as a junior in 2009-10. Then Quinn Cook increased his tally by almost four points to 15.3 per game as a senior in 2014-15.
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Jeremy Roach could join this club, assuming the former five-star rookie from Virginia permanently throws the “Better Call Terminix!” change he implemented towards the end of his second campaign.
During Duke’s run to the program’s first Final Four since Cook was a Blue Devil, at times there didn’t seem to be enough Raids on the planet to stop Roach in his tracks.
When the 6-foot-2, 170-pound point guard completely trusted his instincts and explosive moves to the basket while limiting his 3-point shot to high percentage attempts, he looked like one of the weapons the most powerful in the country.
Expect Roach, who has averaged just 8.7 points in his first two varsity seasons, to build on that emergence as likely the lone captain of the young squad next season:
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As the only starter back in town, there’s a good chance he’ll put in similar performances on a regular basis when he came out against Syracuse in Duke’s ACC Tournament opener last season. In that game, Roach had 19 points, two boards, two assists, a steal and just one turnover in 24 minutes on the floor while shooting 5 for 10 from deep.
He will be 21 when the Blue Devils end the season at home to Delaware on Nov. 7.
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And it should help Jeremy Roach to have the next projected insta sensation by his side.
2. Duke basketball freshman small forward Dariq Whitehead
The reigning Naismith Boy High School Player of the Year. The reigning SI All-American Player of the Year. The reigning McDonald’s All-American Game MVP. The #2 overall prospect in the 2022 247Sports Composite Finals.
One would think with all these accolades in hand that Dariq Whitehead will struggle to surprise anyone with his array of talent next season. That said, the high-profile level of confidence and multi-faceted repertoire for an 18-year-old may come as a shock to some.
In the case of Whitehead, a New Jersey native whose Montverde, Florida teams have won the last two GEICO High School Nationals titles, words cannot adequately describe the star-studded, trustworthy qualities that are visible in his mixtapes:
RJ Barrett. Dwyane Wade. These well-known perimeter players come to mind watching the 6-foot-6, 190-pound small forward dominate as a three-tiered defender and sneaky defender.
Simply put, Dariq Whitehead tends to sizzle. And given his advanced movements, high-level athleticism, all-around competitiveness and ability to execute the point when needed, he’s a prime candidate – along with Jeremy Roach – to beat the Blue Devils in the game time department.
If Roach and Whitehead commit to being tough defenders, there’s every reason to believe they’ll serve as superb Duke basketball superstars and make Jon Scheyer’s job a lot easier.
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