The Duke basketball program could have another lineup issue on its hands.
The next college basketball season, the 2024-25 campaign, could present a distinct set of circumstances for Jon Scheyer and the Duke basketball coaching staff.
They are facing the prospect of dealing with a considerable logjam in both the backcourt and on the wing, which arises from the potential returns of guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain as well as the potential arrival of six highly touted wing prospects — Isaiah Evans, Cooper Flagg, Kon Knueppel, Darren Harris, VJ Edgecombe, and Dylan Harper.
As a result, the competition for minutes on the court promises to be exceptionally intense.
Foster and McCain, both very talented, have options when it comes to staying in school or bolting for the NBA. Both were recruited as multi-year players, but their play this season will play a big part in those decisions.
It will be interesting to see what role and responsibilities they are tasked with, but if you had to pick one to make the jump to the NBA it would be Foster due to his positional size, scoring ability, poise, and playmaking that should translate to the next level.
The newcomers committed and potential recruits also pose a difficult challenge for Scheyer.
Flagg, the crown jewel of the 2024 class, committed to Duke on Monday and projects to be a sure fire one-and-done player and future NBA lottery pick.
Evans is a long-armed, wiry player out of North Carolina who is one of the most explosive scorers in his class. The spirited wing has the length and offensive acumen that should pay off for him when he joins Duke as he scores in tight spaces and is very good at the one dribble pull-up.
He made a whopping 101 3-pointer for his high school team last season.
Knueppel also recently committed to the Blue Devils and the sniper out of Wisconsin will provide Duke with another perimeter threat and ball handler. He will make the offense more versatile and lethal.
Kneuppel chose Duke over his hometown Wisconsin Badgers and Virginia Cavaliers.
Darren Harris was one of the first prospects to commit to Duke in the recruiting cycle and the two-way wing has a lethal jump shot and a high basketball IQ.
Harris is best when catching and shooting on the move, although he has improved athleticism, which has helped him when attacking the rim.
Harris is a consummate team player and competes with great energy.
Duke basketball still looking to add 5-star talent to its loaded class
VJ Edgecombe is a 6-foot-5 combo guard out of New York and broke onto the scene earlier this year with his elite play for his high school team, Long Island Lutheran.
Edgecombe is a ballhawk on defense and, with his incredibly long arms and strong frame, is able to create havoc on the defensive end.
On offense, he’s a good spot or standstill shooter who needs to work on shooting on the move. He attacks the rim with power and speed and uses his agility to finish in various ways.
It feels like, at this point in his recruitment, he could be considered a lean for the Blue Devils.
Dylan Harper has been a main target for Jon Scheyer for well over a year now and during that time Scheyer was in attendance for almost every game or event that Harper was invited to.
The elite combo guard sets the table for his team and keeps everyone happy while still being a dominant scorer, which was one of the main things that Scheyer loved about his game.
While Harper is predicted to choose Rutgers by every major recruiting service, Duke is still in the race and the fact that he hasn’t committed to the Scarlet Knights yet could also be a sign that the Blue Devils are still under consideration.
The VJ Edgecombe recruitment could also play a role in his decision; if Edgecombe chooses Duke, that would almost immediately eliminate the Duke basketball program from consideration for Harper.
This could premature with this presumed roster, but if anyone can handle this problem it’s Jon Scheyer.
The personable and relatable coach is known for his calm demeanor and emotional intelligence. Managing a roster with this much talent and positional similarity should be a relatively easy task for Scheyer and his staff.
There will have to be some sacrifice from the players, and with the Blue Devils’ strong culture that should make things easier.
At the same time, you never know until you are put in that situation. These players will come from situations where they are the team’s stars, adding to the perceived dilemma.
The depth and competition within the roster are a testament to Duke’s unwavering dedication to achieving excellence on the basketball court.
While it certainly presents a formidable challenge for the coaching staff to navigate, it’s a challenge they welcome with open arms. It’s the kind of “problem” that every successful program hopes to have — a surplus of talent and options.