Duke basketball reinforcements lurking with big games looming

Duke basketball freshmen Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball freshmen Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program is hoping to get back some major reinforcements quickly. 

It was an opening that was clouded by injuries for the Duke basketball program but head coach Jon Scheyer is hoping he quickly gets some major reinforcements for the Blue Devils.

Star freshmen Dereck Lively II (calf) and Dariq Whitehead (foot) were sitting on the end of the bench in street clothes as Duke pummeled Jacksonville, 71-44, but Scheyer said following the game that the duo have made “big strides in their health.”

Whitehead was injured in the first day of official practice and required surgery on his foot while Lively pulled a calf muscle about two weeks before the season began.

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Neither player participated in an exhibition or scrimmage against another opponent in the preseason.

However, Jon Scheyer said in his press conference that Dereck Lively has a “great shot playing Friday.”

The Blue Devils (1-0) return to the floor against the University of South Carolina Upstate (1-0) at 6:30 but the first year head coach said that Whitehead will not play this week as he builds up his conditioning and begins to “play through contact” in practice.

Duke basketball getting contributions from other freshmen

Five-star freshmen forwards Mark Mitchell and Kyle Filipowski filled in admirably in their collegiate debut as Mitchell posted 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting and Filipowski, on his birthday, notched a 10-point and 12-rebound double-double.

Ryan Young, the Northwestern transfer, added 12 points and seven rebounds on 6-for-6 shooting as the starting center on Monday night.

Jon Scheyer also updated the health of Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively on The Field of 68 and reiterated that Lively “has a definite shot [to play] on Friday.”

It seems likely that the 7-foot-1 center Dereck Lively will make his Duke debut on Friday night as now the questions will turn to the return of the dynamic wing Dariq Whitehead since the Blue Devils play the defending National Champion Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday, November 15.

Next. Newcomers with promising futures after opening night. dark