Duke basketball: Star guard has potential to return

Duke basketball guard Trevor Keels (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guard Trevor Keels (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball may have a chance to return one of its stars.

Just about a week and a half ago, Duke basketball had five separate players declare for the 2022 NBA Draft. Along with each of those declarations included a statement from Mike Krzyzewski, most of which sound virtually identical.

One, however, caused a bit of intrigue.

When Trevor Keels announced his intention to declare for the NBA Draft, many assumed that would mark the end of his time in Durham. But a line from Coach K’s statement about Keels caused Duke basketball fans to speculate over whether Keels would eventually return.

“We wish Trevor nothing but the very best as he enters the NBA Draft process,” K said in his statement posted on Duke basketball’s socials. “It’s been a joy having Trevor and his family in our program and we’ll continue to be here for him as he explores the next steps of his career.”

Coach K’s statement for Keels had a stark contrast to those for Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, Wendell Moore Jr., and AJ Griffin.

Naturally, Duke fans have gotten excited at the potential of a possible return.

Keels’ backcourt partner and high school teammate, Jeremy Roach, has already announced his intentions to return for his junior season in Durham, further fueling the hype train for Keels’ return for a sophomore season.

During Tuesday’s media availability, new head coach Jon Scheyer may have increased that excitement to an all-time high.

“We’re supporting of him going through the process of testing,” Scheyer said during Tuesday’s presser.

These comments, along with those from Coach K back in April, all but confirm that a possible return from Keels remains on the table.

What Trevor Keels’ return would mean for Duke basketball

Trevor Keels returning would be a massive bonus to a Blue Devil roster that is already loaded for the 2022-23 season. The one remaining focus of Duke basketball fans this offseason has been to address the starting two-guard, and Keels would be the best-case scenario for that spot.

The 6-foot-4 swingman averaged 11.5 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting during his freshman season. He added 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per contest en route to a very solid all-around season.

Despite his all-around production, Keels had his highs and lows in Durham this past season. After exploding for 25 points in the season-opening victory over Kentucky, the former five-star recruit struggled with consistency during ACC play before once again finding his groove during the NCAA Tournament.

A second go-round in Durham would be beneficial for both Keels and Duke basketball.

If Keels decides to keep his name in the NBA Draft, the Blue Devils still have the opportunity to fill his role as the starting two-guard.

Scheyer and the rest of the staff have reached out to multiple guards in the transfer portal. Most recently, Duke has been linked to Missouri State transfer Isiaih Mosley, who has expressed no hurry in making a decision and would be a welcome addition to next year’s roster.

The deadline for Keels to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft is June 1.

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