Duke basketball: 3 Blue Devils who must drastically improve

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Three areas for Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach to improve

  • Intensity (only 2.2 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game as a freshman)
  • Instincts (an average of 2.0 turnovers to only 2.8 assists)
  • FT shooting (67.5 percent last season)

As arguably the most vital piece of the three on this list, Jeremy Roach must build on the strides he showed late in the 2020-21 campaign, just as Duke was finding its stride. That moment, of course, coincided with a positive COVID-19 test within the program, making the Blue Devils’ late surge all for naught following their pair of clicking-on-all-cylinders wins in the ACC Tournament.

At the time, Roach was finally finding his rhythm, both as a 3-point marksman and a floor general, after failing throughout the season to lock down his starting gig. Now, with the start of his sophomore campaign less than three months away, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound former five-star recruit again looks to be first in line for a stab at cementing the first-string status at the point.

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This time around, Roach can seal the deal and potentially guide Duke basketball back to the promised land via this three-course regimen:

  1. Capitalize on having relatively light feet to stir things up more often on both ends of the floor, regularly referring to Tre Jones footage for a general how-to when it comes to serving as a constant creator on offense and a constant nuisance on defense.
  2. Fine-tune the decision-making process, especially in traffic, leaving behind all the timid drives and prayers under duress from last season that essentially equated to gifts for opponents.
  3. Get rid of irregularities at the charity stripe in preparation for an increased number of trips there as a second-year Blue Devil — in light of what hopes to be a much more calculated piercing attack.

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Yes, the rest should fall into place, thanks to the trio of five-star newcomers in Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, and Trevor Keels, in addition to all the rest.