Duke basketball: A Blue Devil is red hot and needs to stay that way

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

This is the Jeremy Roach that Duke basketball needs. This is the Jeremy Roach that Duke basketball needs to stay.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster beginning to Jeremy Roach’s Duke basketball career. A lot of it has to do with expectations. Expectations can be hard to deal with and meet up to, especially when you are a starting freshman point guard for the Duke Blue Devils.

Expectations from the player to be a star. Expectations of making the NBA and getting that pay, pay, pay. Expectations from coaches to bend to the team and reach their vision of his success. Expectations from fans who want it to be Kyrie Irving, Jay Williams, or Bobby Hurley every time no matter what.

Sometimes, we need to just shelve the projections and let things develop as they are supposed to since no path is the same. For every Zion Williamson who burned the brightest from the beginning, there are more Chase Jeters that never quite sparked into fire. For every insta-ready RJ Barrett, there are far more Plumlee brothers who take time to progress in their Duke basketball evolutions.

We need to look no further than the current squad and the unquestioned leader of the Blue Devils this season: Wendell Moore, who’s shown it can take some a little longer to reach that potential. He came in as a mid-20s ranked prospect with more of a well-rounded skillset than dominance in any one area just like Roach. He showed promising glimpses and wild inconsistencies his first couple of seasons before taking a giant leap in this one.

Although Moore didn’t have as much thrust on his plate as early as Roach did, interestingly, Jeremy has taken a bit of a step back this season in terms of ball-handling responsibility. Moore was given the keys to the offense right out of the gate, and Trevor Keels has taken significant turns with that duty as well.

Roach had seemed like the third option for Duke during much of non-conference play and prior to the COVID break. Afterward, he eventually lost his starting spot for three games before Keels got hurt against Florida State, and he began his streak of four straight games with at least five assists and only one turnover.

So what changed?