Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Steve Wiseman

Ahead of Jon Scheyer's first season, here's what we know about 2022-23 Duke team

DURHAM, N.C. — Two new banners hung from Cameron Indoor Stadium's rafters as Duke went through its fifth preseason practice, preparing for a new basketball season last Saturday morning.

Last year's Blue Devils earned the banners, honoring their ACC regular-season championship and Final Four berth.

The group coach Jon Scheyer is leading through practices this month bears little resemblance to that celebrated team as junior Jeremy Roach is the lone returning starter.

The expectations, though, remain the same.

The nation's No. 1 recruiting class, led by the top incoming freshman in 7-1 center Dereck Lively, gives Scheyer plenty of talent in his first season taking over for the retired Mike Krzyzewski as Duke's head coach.

Duke is still practicing without one of those freshmen as 6-6 forward Dariq Whitehead is still recovering from the right foot fracture he suffered Aug. 29.

But there's still plenty learned already from Duke's first week of practice in preparation for its Nov. 7 season-opening game with Jacksonville.

Here are some observations after watching last Saturday's practice, which was open to members of the public who purchased tickets with proceeds funding Duke Children's Hospital:

Hello, Tyrese Proctor

The last Duke player to arrive on campus and join his teammates in offseason workouts, Proctor is already impressing.

The 6-5, 178-pound guard from Australia reclassified to the Class of 2022 in June and came to the U.S. in August after playing with the Australian national team in the FIBA Asian Cup tournament. Proctor averaged 10.5 points per game in his six games there.

With the Blue Devils, he's shown a smooth shooting stroke, both on step-back 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers.

At times he plays point guard, allowing the 6-2 Roach to play off the ball, but the two also easily reverse those roles. Both can score, distribute and handle the ball.

A Lively defender

Duke had the ACC's top defensive player last season in 7-1 center Mark Williams, who led the league in blocked shots.

Lively isn't the physical force Williams was. But, at 7-1 and 215, he's long and athletic with a natural ability to block shots.

When Duke pairs Lively and 6-11, 220-pound center Kyle Filipowski together, which Scheyer and the staff plan to do, that gives the Blue Devils a formidable defensive front court.

Early player rotation notes

Proctor, Roach and 6-6 graduate transfer Jacob Grandison joined Lively and Filipowski as the first-team unit wearing white jerseys.

That group has plenty of scoring ability as all five players can score behind the 3-point line. On defense, Proctor and Grandison have size advantages on the perimeter and Roach has proven a capable defender.

As mentioned, Lively is a superb rim protector.

Mark Mitchell, a bouncy 6-8 freshman forward, and 6-4 sharp-shooting guard Jaden Schutt also got first-team work on a smaller group when Lively and Filipowski switched to blue jerseys.

That's seven top players.

The 6-6 Whitehead, once healthy, is expected to join that group. He didn't do any on-court work with the team Saturday as he wore a protective boot on his healing right foot.

He has designs on being ready for Jacksonville on Nov. 7 but, as Scheyer said last week, the staff does not intend to rush Whitehead back.

Ryan Young a factor, too

Though always working with the blue team, graduate transfer Ryan Young displayed nifty moves in the post.

The 6-10, 240-pound Young, formerly of Northwestern, looks like a more skilled version of Theo John, the 6-9 reserve who split time with Williams in the post last season.

Young started 37 of the 86 games he played with the Wildcats, averaging 8.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while making 53.3% of his shots, before transferring to Duke.

He finishes well around the basket and doesn't hesitate to attempt a 3-pointer when left open, although he only hit 5 of 29 3-pointers during his Northwestern career.

Young looks like he'll be a capable reserve to provide defense and rebounding.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.