Duke basketball: Major takeaways from 4-on-4 scrimmage

Duke basketball forward Ryan Young and guard Tyrese Proctor (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Ryan Young and guard Tyrese Proctor (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program released exclusive footage of a 4-on-4 scrimmage. 

The first true look at a portion of the Duke basketball team came last week when the program released exclusive footage on YouTube of its  4-on-4 scrimmage.

Duke has yet to have a full 5-on-5 scrimmage since Jeremy Roach, Mark Mitchell, and Kyle Filipowski were yet to be cleared for full contact at the time of the exhibition but Roach and Mitchell have since returned to the court.

The Blue Devils pinned the four freshmen — Caleb Foster, Jared McCain, Sean Stewart, and TJ Power — against veterans that comprised of Tyrese Proctor, Jaden Schutt, Jaylen Blakes, Ryan Young, and walk-on Stanley Borden.

The biggest observation from the footage was how electric the guard play was from both teams.

Caleb Foster and Jared McCain were first to catch the eye of the viewers with their shooting abilities, but it was Foster who made the biggest impression as he looked mature beyond his years with the basketball in his hands.

Foster, surprisingly, was not a McDonald’s All-American despite his 5-star status and ranked as the No. 19 recruit in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, but looked as if he could not only be the top freshman on the the Blue Devils but one of the best first year players in the country.

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Tyrese Proctor, on the other hand, has clearly taken the jump from his freshman season as he was in complete command of his team’s offense.

The 6-foot-5 guard finally looked comfortable in his first year with the program when he was tabbed as the team’s primary ball handler and he should continue in that role this season.

Proctor showcased his handle, midrange game, craftiness around the rim, and the occasional improved 3-point stroke.

Given how impressive the Duke guards were in a July scrimmage — without Jeremy Roach on the court — shows the Jon Scheyer will have his hands full trying to find minutes on the court for the talented group.

Duke basketball committing to improved offensive sets

Duke sometimes struggled offensively last season and it was the team’s defense that propelled it to victory but that offense looks like it will be vastly improved this year.

The emphasis on the 3-point ball was very evident in the scrimmage as not only was the shot making of Caleb Foster, Tyrese Proctor, and Jared McCain highlighted, the development of Jaden Schutt and emergence of TJ Power were also on full display.

Schutt rarely saw meaningful action in his freshman season but, labeled as one of the best shooters in his recruiting class, Duke is hoping that he made the necessary adjustments to his body and game that will earn him more playing time.

Power rocketed up recruiting boards last summer and it is easy to see why given his frame, athleticism, and shooting touch.

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It will be interesting to see how many minutes he is able to log during his inaugural season at Duke given the depth of the backcourt and talented frontcourt of Mark Mitchell and Kyle Filipowski.

However, perhaps the most impressive shot came from Ryan Young, who nailed a 3-pointer in the scrimmage.

Young did not attempt a 3-pointer last season with Duke and has only taken eight 3-point shots since his freshman year at Northwestern but it is something he has put an emphasis on this offseason and is committed to showcasing his range.

Young and Sean Stewart also showed that the Blue Devils are going to push the tempo this season as both were caught on camera running a fast break off of a missed shot.

Jon Scheyer has explained that he wants his team to get easy buckets in transition more this season and there’s no better way of starting a fast-break than having your forwards pushed the ball up the floor after a miss.

The limited amount of players that the Duke basketball team currently has available are already showing the ability of this squad and adding three more of its best talents could equal a special season in Durham.

Next. Duke lands in Top-4 finalists of another elite 2024 prospect. dark