The Duke basketball team was looking impressive in its full scrimmage.
The only time fans have gotten to see the Duke basketball team in action was a video of a 4-on-4 scrimmage in early July because the team was still waiting for players to be medically cleared for full contact.
Well, that time has come and the YouTube channel for the Blue Devils released a video last week of its first 5-on-5 scrimmage.
Kyle Filipowski has still yet to be cleared for contact after his double hip surgery after the season but Jeremy Roach and Mark Mitchell, both who were unable to participate in the 4-on-4 game, were back on the court and looked impressive.
However, it might have been Mitchell who looked the most impressive of anyone on the court with his aggression offensively and willingness to shoot the ball from anywhere on the court.
The opening clip of the video shows the sophomore forward hitting a jumpshot from the free throw line and as the nearly 10-minute long video progressed he only became more active.
Mitchell averaged 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game during his freshman season but it was his defense that stood out on most nights and that was on display yet again in the scrimmage as he constantly forced turnovers, blocked shots, and did not let anyone get a clean look at the basket.
There was a focus, confidence, and plan with every move Mark Mitchell made in the exhibition and he looked poised for a breakout season offensively in a revamped attack for Duke.
Tyrese Proctor, who many have pegged as a national breakout candidate, showed off his improved athleticism and confidence once again in the scrimmage as glowing reports continue to emanate out of Durham about the steady progress its point guard is making.
Duke basketball freshman makes major impression
A lot of the attention in the summer has been targeted to Duke freshmen guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain and while both had their moments in the 5-on-5 scrimmage it was forward Sean Stewart who looked ready for the regular season.
Stewart’s relentless motor was on display throughout the video and his tenacity around the basket was eye-popping.
The 6-foot-9 forward was getting the best of sophomore center Christian Reeves on a consistent basis and could be considered to be a front-runner for the final starting spot on opening night.
Reeves, on the other hand, showed concerning signs defensively as others were able to target him in pick-and-rolls, work around him while driving to the basket, and get shots over him close to the lane.
The 7-footer did undergo ankle surgery earlier in the offseason so his mobility and explosiveness might not have fully returned but it seems that not only Sean Stewart but Ryan Young and, eventually, Kyle Filipowski could be ahead of him on the depth chart.
There also seems to be a spot in the rotation for Jaylen Blakes in some capacity.
Duke is already working with a loaded backcourt but Blakes proved that he can do the intangibles that good teams much need done in order to win.
The junior guard is a tough defender and plays bigger than his 6-foot-2, 204 pound frame would suggest.
Even if it’s less than 10 minutes per game, Jaylen Blakes deserves some legitimate run on the court this season.
The development of the players and team are still in very early stages but Duke looks like a force to be reckon with when November rolls around.