Duke basketball: Dereck Lively gives bold prediction on upcoming season

Duke basketball center Dereck Lively (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Dereck Lively (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball center Dereck Lively II had an interesting prediction about the Blue Devils. 

Dereck Lively II has only be out of the Duke basketball program for about a month but the shot blocking center is still thinking about his pals still in Durham.

Lively, at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, was asked by NCAA insider Andy Katz what he thinks is going to happen with the Blue Devils this upcoming season after Jeremy Roach announced he would be returning to the program for his senior season.

“Duke is going to be a great team next year,” Lively said.

“They have, pretty much, all the pieces they had last year.”

The Blue Devils will return four starters from a season ago but see the departure of Lively and Dariq Whitehead as well as Illinois graduate transfer Jacob Grandison.

The trio combined to average a total of 17.9 points per game.

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However, the Blue Devils also will return freshmen Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell, and Tyrese Proctor for their sophomore seasons in addition to bringing in a star studded freshmen class of 5-star prospects Jared McCain, Caleb Foster, Sean Stewart, and TJ Power.

“They are playing together and they have each others back,” Lively continued.

“I know they are going to make a nice, long run. Better than they did this year.”

Duke basketball hoping for more success under Jon Scheyer

Dereck Lively was a part of the run Duke made this season, culminating in an ACC Tournament Championship and a 10-game winning streak spanning the middle of February to mid-March.

The Blue Devils were given a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and fell in the Round of 32 to No. 4 seed Tennessee, although key wing Mark Mitchell missed the game with injury.

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Duke is projected to be a Top-2 team in the preseason poll and a lot of expectations will be on the shoulders of second year head coach Jon Scheyer to deliver a championship back to Durham.

Lively is expected to be a first round pick in this June’s NBA Draft.

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