Duke basketball: Detailing Blue Devils intriguing prospects in NBA Draft

Duke basketball team huddle (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball team huddle (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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The Duke basketball program has an interesting presence in this year’s NBA Draft.

While some thought it was predictable, at least at the beginning of the season, who would declare for the 2023 NBA Draft from the Duke basketball program there were some unexpected twists at the end of the season.

The Blue Devils brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country ahead of Jon Scheyer’s first season but the team constantly struggled with injuries throughout the season, specifically top recruits Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively.

However, the team was able to get healthy and hot down the stretch of the season to win the ACC Tournament and earn a No. 5 seed entering the NCAA Tournament.

However, injuries hurt Duke, again, in the Round of 32 as its season came to an end against the Tennessee Volunteers.

With eyes set to next season, let’s break the Blue Devil prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Duke basketball players in 2023 NBA Draft

Dereck Lively II:

Duke basketball
Duke basketball center Dereck Lively (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Dereck Lively came into the season ranked as the No.1 prospect in the country by ESPN, but struggled to bounce back after suffering a calf injury at the beginning of the season.

However, the 7-foot-1 center was a key player in Duke’s defense in the NCAA Tournament.

Lively ended the season averaging 2.4 blocks per game and his athleticism would be a great addition to any NBA team’s defensive strategy, especially due to his rim protection abilities.

In a recent mock draft by Sports Illustrated, Lively is projected to head to the Brooklyn Nets with the No. 21 overall pick in the draft.

Duke basketball
Duke basketball wing Dariq Whitehead (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

Dariq Whitehead:

Dariq Whitehead was ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2022, just behind Dereck Lively, so there were inevitably high expectations for him heading into the 2022-2023 season.

Unfortunately, Whitehead also succumbed to some injury roadblocks at the beginning of the season, but, thankfully, was able to bounce back and be a dominant force at the end of the Blue Devils’ run in the NCAA Tournament.

Whitehead was a key player in Duke’s offense towards the end of the season, especially on the perimeter knocking down many key 3-point shots for the Blue Devils.

Ultimately, he is a very athletic player with extraordinary untapped potential.

In Sports Illustrated’s mock draft, Whitehead is projected to head to Miami with the No. 18 overall pick in the draft.