Duke basketball: Detailing firepower at Jon Scheyer’s disposal

Duke basketball team huddles (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball team huddles (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball team will have plenty of options offensively this season. 

Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer and his coaching staff have meticulously assembled a roster comprising of elite 5-star talent entering his second season as the program’s head coach as the Blue Devils hope to build on last year’s success.

Scheyer boasts the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports, and a handful of former 5-star players returning for their sophomore seasons.

Duke’s ability to retain all of its players amidst the current climate of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and the transfer portal speaks volumes to the culture that Jon Scheyer has continued from the historic career of Mike Krzyzewski.

Now let’s take a closer look at the firepower that Duke will roll out in the 2023–2024 season, starting with the backcourt duo of Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach.

Proctor, a dynamic lead guard, brings leadership and second year experience with an ability to score the basketball to the Duke lineup.

With exceptional basketball IQ, the pick-and-roll maestro should have another dynamic season with significant improvement in his shooting numbers.

If Tyrese Proctor picks up where he left off, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be selected for an All-ACC Team, All-ACC Defensive Team and possibly even a spot on one of the All-American teams.

The subsequent move to having Proctor handle the ball more was moving Jeremy Roach off the ball and it was one of the best decisions made by Jon Scheyer.

It allowed Roach to concentrate on being the secondary scorer, which Duke desperately needed.

His role should remain the same for the 2023–24 season since his leadership, poise, and clutch shot-making, especially in March, should suit Duke well once again.

In the front-court, Mark Mitchell, the multi-tooled forward, brings athleticism, elite defense, and a scoring punch from the wing to the Blue Devil roster.

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With an improved jump shot, Mitchell is expected to shoulder more of the scoring load but more importantly, he serves as Duke’s most versatile defender, capable of seamlessly switching and guarding both perimeter and post players.

Big things are expected of Mark Mitchell entering his sophomore season and playing next to Kyle Filipowski should certainly help him.

Filipowski, the team’s leading scorer and preseason All-American candidate, will once again be leading the charge for the Duke basketball program.

It’s likely that he could be named as team co-captain, along with Jeremy Roach.

As a combination of a power forward and center, Filipowski has a polished offensive game with the ability to score in the low post and stretch the floor with his shooting range.

He shot 28-percent from 3-point range and will be looking to improve that number drastically.

Expect to see him average a double-double in the range of 18-20 points and 11-12 rebounds per contest.

Duke basketball has major versatility with lineups

Starting Christian Reeves could be reminiscent of this past season where we saw Duke roll out two 7-footers in Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively II.

Reeves’ towering 7-foot-1 frame would make him an excellent choice, depending on the progress in his development, as he would offer valuable rim protection and rebounding.

Another potential lineup option for Duke could include Tyrese Proctor, Jeremy Roach, Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski, and either 5-star freshmen Caleb Foster, Jared McCain, or TJ Power.

That lineup has the potential to supercharge the offense by providing an abundance of shooting and playmaking.

Caleb Foster is a 6-foot-5 point guard who can play on or off the ball. He has a deep arsenal that allows him to break his man down off the dribble and create scoring opportunities for himself as well as his teammates.

He also demonstrates shooting proficiency from both beyond the arc and the midrange area.

Jared McCain, another elite recruit Duke has at its disposal, arrives in Durham with a reputation as a prolific shooter, a fierce competitor, and a high IQ player who knows how to win.

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Do not let his smile fool you; this kid is a real killer and does not shy away from competition.

He would easily step into the starting lineup and prove effective with his shooting and playmaking abilities.

TJ Power, the athletic flamethrower from Massachusetts, possesses many other skills beyond shooting the cover off the ball.

He’s another dynamic athlete who plays extremely hard and can make shots from everywhere on the court. While his game can be more perimeter based, he can play anywhere from shooting guard to power forward.

The hyper-athletic freshman Sean Stewart would fill a traditional two forward role nicely alongside Filipowski.

Pairing Stewart with ‘Flip’ could prove to be advantageous, as Stewart’s motor is always running hot.

He is an absolute menace on the glass and he has an emerging offensive game. His value will be attacking the glass, catching lobs off penetration from the guards, and playing great post defense.

Stewart possesses a very good mid-range jumper, and he can step out for a three if necessary.

Ryan Young’s potential as a starting center moves Kyle Filipowski to his natural position of power forward, thereby placing Duke in a more conventional lineup.

However, the Blue Devils may need to make adjustments to counter teams that like to push the pace since Young isn’t renowned for his speed or quickness.

Jaden Schutt and Jaylen Blakes are other players who could see playing time in spot minutes if Duke were to experience injuries, foul trouble, or the freshmen are not playing well.

After a highly successful coaching debut, Jon Scheyer led his team to an extraordinary undefeated record at home and an impressive overall record of 27-9.

Still, the question arises: What is Duke’s identity?

Do they prefer a fast-paced style of play?

Will they consider having four perimeter players who all can pass, shoot, and dribble?

Or do they favor a more prominent presence in the front-court, playing with size?

We only have this past season to compare and contrast and the big front-court of Dereck Lively and Kyle Filipowski allowed Duke to dominate the boards and exhibit excellent interior defense and scoring.

Only time will reveal the coaching staff’s decision regarding their strategy but fortunately they have multiple options available with the blend of five-star freshmen, impactful returnees, and role players.

This is a deep Duke basketball team and they have their sights set on bringing home their sixth national title.

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