Duke basketball: Forecasting Jeremy Roach’s senior season

Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball captain Jeremy Roach is hoping for a special senior season. 

Jeremy Roach is not foreign to the highs and lows of being a Duke basketball player after this career began with a forgettable season marred by COVID-19, to hitting big shots in a Final Four run as a sophomore, and leading a young Blue Devil team as a junior.

The former 5-star point guard has experienced very different roles in all three of his years in Durham and it is reasonable to believe his senior year will be no different.

It is fair to say that Tyrese Proctor will be the primary ball handler for the majority of the minutes for the upcoming season, as was the case towards the end of last season, meaning Jeremy Roach will likely be in an off-ball scoring role where he thrived in many games.

The Duke backcourt is deeper than it has been in recent years, and the arrival of 5-star guards Jared McCain and Caleb Foster will undoubtedly create a crunch for minutes.

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It is unclear how Jon Scheyer will manage his plethora of talented guards with an experienced frontcourt that he relied on heavily last season, but if he is reluctant to play three guard lineup combinations there will only be 80 total minutes available per game for Proctor, Roach, McCain, and Foster, not to mention the returns of Jaylen Blakes and Jaden Schutt.

If it’s assumed Proctor plays close to 35 minutes per game, and both freshmen guards are real rotational pieces, it will be impossible for Roach to play his career 30 minute average.

Even if three guard lineups are implemented regularly for the Blue Devils next year, Scheyer will need to find the balance between offensive firepower versus size and strength on the interior.

A hypothetical Proctor-Roach-McCain lineup could easily produce one of the nation’s best offenses, yet it might not matter if they struggle defending opposing wings and bigger guards.

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The key to a successful senior season for Jeremy Roach comes down to efficiency and clutch shot making.

Roach has slightly improved his 3-point percentage each season in Durham and if he is able to shoot around 36-percent from beyond the arc, it would benefit the Duke offense tremendously.

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Combine the improved shooting with an already formidable mid-range and slashing attack, and there would be another All-ACC season from the Blue Devil captain.

Jeremy Roach has demonstrated throughout his career that he lives for the big moment and there is nobody Jon Scheyer trusts more with the game on the line.

His ability to close out games will be crucial if the Blue Devils seek to cut the nets in April.

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