Fourteen months after news of his ligament tear had him holding back tears, the next Duke basketball floor general is on a tear.
At this time last year, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) point guard Jeremy Roach was in the infancy of his recovery from an ACL tear in his right knee that forced the 6-foot-2, 180-pound five-star to miss his entire junior season. Fast forward to the present: the 2020 Duke basketball signee is fresh off his first-team all-tournament performance at the Slam Dunk to the Beach in Delaware.
From all accounts, Roach is showing signs he may be an even better athlete now than he was leading up to the "pop" in November 2018 that threatened his hardwood career. One such sign was his championship-game stat line on Sunday (despite his squad's loss): 19 points, six boards, two assists, and two steals against Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.), which featured five-star 2021 Duke commit A.J. Griffin.
Another positive sign that the recovery was a success, suggesting his injury is now 100 percent in the rearview, was one of Roach's explosive dunks two weeks ago. Take a look:
Plus, here's a sign that Roach, who fell from No. 15 to now No. 23 on the 247Sports 2020 Composite as a result of his injury, held onto his instincts as a creator during his absence:
And a recently released 10-minute feature video from More Than Basketball — detailing the injury, recovery, and return from the perspective of the recruit and his parents, who speak openly about their emotions during the process — is a sign Duke will benefit in multiple ways next season from having Roach on the court with his family behind the bench:
Mature. Friendly. Optimistic. Tested. Perseverant. Yep, Duke basketball fans should be loving Jeremy Roach — the heir apparent to current sophomore Tre Jones, who is likely to leave for the NBA after this season — as the program's backcourt leader at this time next year.
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Need more signs all is well with Roach? Well, if you have the time, the following is a seven-overtime sign from December indicating endurance isn't at all an issue:
Of course, it also doesn't hurt that five other top 50 prospects from the class have signed up to join Roach in Durham (at least for next season, as Roach and a few others on the list could end up being one-and-done Blue Devils): Whitney Young (Ill.) five-star combo guard D.J. Steward, IMG Academy (Fla.) five-star small forward Jalen Johnson, Trinity Episcopal (Va.) four-star power forward Henry Coleman, Huntington Prep (W.Va.) four-star power forward Jaemyn Brakefield, and IMG four-star center Mark Williams.
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