Duke basketball: Optimism surrounding often overlooked players

Duke basketball guards Jaden Schutt and Jaylen Blakes (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guards Jaden Schutt and Jaylen Blakes (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program has big hopes for its reserve players. 

Jaylen Blakes and Jaden Schutt find themselves in a challenging situation with the Duke basketball program this upcoming season.

With a ton of depth at the guard spot, there are some questions that need answering about their roles.

Blakes is entering his junior season and Schutt is starting his sophomore year and there seems to be a general consensus that they both will be the odd men out of the rotation.

In a vote of confidence, a video has surfaced featuring Jon Scheyer addressing his team, emphasizing the importance of working hard and staying confident regardless of their roles on last years team or this upcoming season.

Scheyer’s message must have been inspiring for Schutt and Blakes and help instill optimism in them regarding how they fit into this year’s team.


Despite the very limited playing time for Jaden Schutt and the decreased opportunities for Jaylen Blakes as the year progressed, both players remained loyal to Duke and resisted the temptation to enter the transfer portal.

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Many may have anticipated their decision to transfer, but their commitment to the team speaks volumes about their exemplary character.

Duke basketball role players hoping to elevate their performances

Jaylen Blakes, who averages 13.2 minutes per game, saw significant minutes early in the season — starting two games — and played well when given the opportunity.

However, there was a significant drop-off in his playing time after mid-January.

During the final 14 games of the season, he only played at least 10 minutes in just three of them.

This decrease in playing time was largely due to the emergence of Tyrese Proctor, whom Scheyer handed the keys to, and Duke’s performance really took off under his leadership.

ALSO READ: Tyrese Proctor details turnaround, expectations for year

Blakes continued to be one of the most upbeat and spirited players, cheering from the sideline, and he was always prepared to play when his number was called.

Jaden Schutt played an average of 6.9 minutes per contest and had a limited role for the Blue Devils.

Despite arriving at Duke with high expectations as a 4-star guard, he struggled to make a significant impact.

This team boasts two highly rated 5-star freshmen, Jared McCain and Caleb Foster, and in order to earn more playing time, Schutt will need to compete fiercely during practices and outperform one of his talented teammates.

With an incredibly talented and deep roster, Jon Scheyer faces an intriguing dilemma and it will be interesting to see how things unfold for Jaylen Blakes and Jaden Schutt.

Insiders praise Jon Scheyer for offseason success. dark. Next