Duke basketball: Dariq Whitehead uses inspiration from Jayson Tatum

Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead took advice from Jayson Tatum entering the NBA. 

Freshmen on the Duke basketball team have experienced bad injury luck in their lone season in Durham and Dariq Whitehead and Jayson Tatum seem to be the poster children for that.

Whitehead suffered broken fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot in August, which required surgery, but only missed the first three games of the regular season due to the injury.

However, the foot did not heal properly despite the 5-star recruit continuing to play and averaging 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assist per game on 42.9-percent shooting from 3-point range and required another surgery following the season.

Dariq Whitehead was still selected with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets and was asked which players have helped him navigate the waters of the injury and his repose was quick.

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Jayson Tatum.

Tatum was publicly diagnosed with a foot sprain in during his freshman season at Duke which forced him to miss the first eight games of the season.

Duke basketball standouts have similar paths to NBA

“The main player I talked to about the injury was Jayson Tatum, and that’s because at Duke he had a similar injury, except it was his fourth metatarsal,” Whitehead explained.

Tatum, in 29 games at Duke, averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game and was the No. 3 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.

“His main thing was just being patient. You know when the right time is to come back, you know your body. That’s kind of what I tried to apply, just making sure I know my body and doing it right the second time.”

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Similarly, both Jayson Tatum and Whitehead’s Duke teams won the ACC Tournament and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32.

Dariq Whitehead will not play in the NBA Summer League but the expectation is that he will be ready for training camp in the fall.

Next. Dariq Whitehead returning home to play in New York City. dark