Duke basketball: Dariq Whitehead says he’s ‘ready for the next chapter’

Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead (Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead (Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball freshman Dariq Whitehead gave some insight into his future.

It was an emotional scene in the Duke basketball locker room on Saturday afternoon after the Blue Devils’ season came to an end in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament against Tennessee.

Duke could not match the physicality of the Volunteers and its offense was too inconsistent to try and keep it in the game.

Freshman forward Mark Mitchell was ruled out minutes before tipoff because of a knee injury suffered in practice on Friday and it thrusted Dariq Whitehead into the starting lineup with very little time to prepare.

Whitehead told reporters after the 65-52 loss that he found out he would be starting just a few minutes before tipoff and it changed the way he prepared for the game.

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The Newark, New Jersey native, who grew up a Duke fan, had a strong first half with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting but did not attempt a shot in the second half despite being on the court for 16 minutes.

Whitehead, filled with tears in the Blue Devil locker room, said that he’s “ready for the next chapter.”

“I’m just trying to put my head down and move forward. It’s been a hard year for me. I’ve been through some adversity, injuries,” Whitehead continued.

Duke basketball freshman’s chaotic season

Dariq Whitehead, the No. 2 player in the Class of 2022 recruiting class, had a troubling freshman season at Duke after suffering a broken foot in practice in August which kept him out for the entirety of the preseason, in addition to the first three games of the regular season.

Whitehead then suffered another scary injury against Virginia Tech in late January in which he appeared to rupture his Achilles but was later diagnosed as a lower leg strain which kept him out for four games.

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The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assist per game while shooting 42.1-percent from the field and 42.9-percent from 3-point range but could never consistently showcase his abilities that had many projecting him as a Top-15 NBA Draft pick when he landed in Durham.

It seems all but certain that Dariq Whitehead will be moving on to the professional ranks in a few weeks and the question still looms of how many of his Duke teammates will join him in the leap to the NBA.

Next. Stunning injury sidelines Mark Mitchell before tipoff. dark