Each Duke basketball player’s chance of returning next season

Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players with a 30 percent chance of leaving

  • G- Jeremy Roach (Fr)
  • G- DJ Steward (Fr)
  • C- Mark Williams (Fr)

Jeremy Roach started out looking like a lost Duke basketball freshman in the brutal ecosystem that is college basketball. The guard has since become one of the brighter spots on the team, averaging 10.0 points a game and shooting 43.9 percent from the field.

Roach still does have a great deal of work to do in order to be ready for the big leagues. He needs to improve his on-ball defense and boost his 3-point percentage (22.9).

In the 70-65 loss to Louisville, Roach seemed to have no confidence going and posted a nice big goose egg in the scoring department. He didn’t seem to exist on the floor at all late in the game, and I was hoping he would be the guy to take the last shot.

Another reason I think Roach will appear as a sophomore is that Duke is heavy in the running for his high school teammate, Trevor Keels. In fact, it sounds as if Keels considers Roach being at Duke of importance to him in making his decision.

But Roach is second on the team in assists with 31, and if he keeps those passing skills alive, combined with an improvement in shooting, then he may not be able to resist a favorable draft grade.

I think Roach will want to help make a college super-team, though, and return home to Cameron Indoor Stadium next year.

The same holds true for fellow freshman guard DJ Steward.

The 6-foot-2 (no way he’s that tall) Chicago native has shown he can score at will, but his performance is inconsistent so far this season. Steward started ACC play scoring at least 14 points in every game, only to be shut down with six points against Pitt.

He seems to forget to move without the ball sometimes and forgets that his ability to drive to the basket feeds his spot-up shooting abilities. Another year at Duke will help Steward in his mental and physical development, making him a much more attractive prospect.

The last thing he really needs to improve on is his handles as he will more than likely be expected to man the point at the next level. A three-headed guard monster featuring Steward, Roach, and possibly Keels or Wendell Moore could allow Steward to play both guard positions and give Roach a spell sometimes.

As for freshman center Mark Williams, he has only played a total of 51 minutes so far this season, but his height always makes him intriguing to NBA shot callers. After all, 7-footers don’t grow on trees.

Yet of all the vertically inclined young men to walk through Cameron, Williams is certainly on the raw side of the developmental scale. He has shown the ability to score around the basket sporadically, but opportunity seems to be his problem.

That, coupled with a need to get stronger and improve his defensive footwork, makes me think he will be part of a double-trouble post duo with Paolo Banchero next year. Even if the two bigs aren’t on the floor at the same time, Williams could carve minutes out, and I expect a big 21-22 campaign.

Williams also has the added factor of being related to Duke basketball standout Elizabeth Williams, who played four years for the women’s program and averaged 14.5 points a game as a senior. Us Dukies hope that family ties will run deep in Durham for years to come.

One more slide and we’re there, folks!…