Duke basketball: Projected starters without AJ Griffin

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball point guard Jeremy Roach (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Projected Duke basketball starter against Kentucky: Jeremy Roach

Last season, the Duke basketball team finished 13-11 and became the program’s first group since 1995 to miss the NCAA Tournament. And one noticeable contributor to the disappointment was the inconsistency at point guard. On that note, one could argue that the primary starter at the one-spot should change for this go-round.

Nope. That’s unlikely. Instead, after learning from frequent mistakes and general insufficiencies across 18 starting nods as a freshman, Jeremy Roach has returned with what appears to be a positive demeanor and a prime opportunity to vie for the 2021-22 ACC Most Improved Player Award as a 20-year-old sophomore.

Roach, who arrived in Durham from the Washington, D.C., area as a five-star prospect in 2020, put up a few encouraging stat lines last season (see: the loss at Virginia Tech and the home win over Syracuse). But he finished with a subpar 31.3 shooting percentage from downtown and a discouragingly low 2.8 assists per game for the season while never truly solidifying his role.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that the 6-foot-1, 170-pound floor general won’t have the unfair task to try filling the shoes of 2019-20 ACC Player and Defender of the Year Tre Jones this time around. No, Jeremy Roach can now focus on being a better version of Jeremy Roach, period.

And it may help that he’ll be doing so alongside a former prep teammate, who just so happens to be the next name in this projected starting lineup.