Four key takeaways from Duke basketball’s first intrasquad scrimmage

Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program has provided some game-like footage to dissect.

With no exhibition games this year, the 2020-21 Duke basketball squad will play a series of intrasquad scrimmages instead. This past Friday night, the Blue Devils played three 12-minute games, mixing up the teams each time.

While it was a closed scrimmage, the program did release some video and provided us with some analysis of the game. It was great to see Duke basketball finally back in action and players in those beautiful blue and white uniforms.

The first takeaway from the first Duke basketball scrimmage…

1. Duke will be a guard-led team

Over the past three seasons, the Blue Devils have mostly been led by ultra-talented big men with guys like Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter, Zion Williamson, and Vernon Carey Jr., but that will not be the case in the 2020-21 season. Duke will be back to being led by outstanding guard play.

What stuck out to me the most was how well Duke’s guards looked. I was very impressed with freshmen Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward, as well as senior point guard Jordan Goldwire.

Let’s start with Goldiwre. I thought he looked far more comfortable with the ball in his hands, looking to attack and score. That’s not something Duke fans are used to with him. Over the past few seasons, it seemed like he would try to get rid of the ball as soon as he could. Of course, you want to have an unselfish point guard, but defenses never respected him as a scoring threat.

The scrimmage highlights (available at the end of this article) show Goldwire using his speed to get in the lane and using little runners to score. His shot also seems to be a bit more fluid.

Probably the player I was most impressed with, though, was Jeremy Roach. The freshman actually led all Duke scorers over the course of their three shortened games with 22 points on 6-for-9 shooting to along with five assists.

Roach’s outside shot looked really good. The video shows him knocking down four 3-pointers. Outside shooting was a question mark for the point guard coming into college, but his form and rotation on the ball are all there. His ability to consistently hit outside shots will be huge for Duke’s offense.

DJ Steward and Wendell Moore were also shown handling duties at point guard for the Blue Devils. Steward comes in as a combo guard, and Duke will likely use him as a primary ballhandler at times; he had five assists in the scrimmage. Meanwhile, Moore also played well, scoring 16 points, including a very nice play where he split the defense then took it in for an and-one.

It is certainly possible that we could see all four of these players at the same time. It would be a small lineup, but it would make Duke an extremely difficult team to defend off the dribble. Playing two point guards together is a trend we have seen more of across all levels of basketball. Goldwire and Roach, especially, will likely be a frequent pairing for the Blue Devils this season.