Duke basketball shows glimpse into future in more ways than one

Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /

The future of the Duke basketball team was on display against Wake Forest on Wednesday night. 

In an unfortunate set of circumstances, the Duke basketball program was able to see what it will have next year on the sidelines against Wake Forest (13-4, 3-3 ACC).

The team announced head coach Mike Krzyzewski would be unavailable to coach on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness and Jon Scheyer, the head coach in waiting, was manning the bench for the No. 8 Blue Devils (13-2, 2-1 ACC).

It was the second time Scheyer has been the head coach for a game in the last two seasons, and it seems as if the National Champion as a coach and player will take a perfect head coaching record into his full-time role next season.

Duke responded to its home loss to Miami (FL) over the weekend with a dominating victory on the road against the Demon Deacons, 76-64.

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The final score was not indicative of how the game was controlled by the visitors from start to finish as the Blue Devils led by as many as 20 points in the second half behind a combined 46 points from Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, who earned his first start of the season.

Griffin started alongside Banchero, Wendell Moore, Trevor Keels, and Mark Williams as Jeremy Roach came off the bench for the first time this season.

Keels, who finished with 11 points, went down in the second half with an apparent injury. But despite not returning to the game, he was seen on the bench in good spirits for the remainder of the victory.

Duke basketball new starting five could be permanent

The debut of AJ Griffin in the starting five did not come as a surprise, given his recent stretch of excellent play, but it seems as if the freshman is going to stay in his new role in the rotation.

Griffin went 8-of-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range in the process of grabbing his 22 points and four rebounds.

The projected Top-20 draft pick has scored at least 10 points in six of his last seven games following a stretch of scoring a total of two points in three games against The Citadel, Gonzaga, and Ohio State.

Duke will return home on Saturday afternoon against North Carolina State (9-8, 2-4 ACC) at 2:00 p.m. on ABC.

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