The Duke basketball coaching staff has a major decision to make in the starting lineup.
The Duke basketball team might have a dilemma.
Jon Scheyer and his coaching staff must grapple with a unique problem — a surplus of immensely talented players vying for limited minutes on the court.
The question that looms is how one manages a roster brimming with potential stars, all with the ability to make a difference on the court. The said players areJeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, and freshmen guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain.
There are only 40 minutes in a game and someone will have to sacrifice, right?
When you recruit at a high level like Duke does, you will run into his problem from time to time and Scheyer, now in his second year at the helm, is now slowing down his explosive recruiting.
Recruits committing to play for the Duke basketball team understand that they are coming to a team that will have either better players than them or the same caliber of players that they will have to compete against to earn their time on the court.
The blueprint was laid out by Mike Krzyzewski and Jon Scheyer has done a fantastic job of carrying over the tradition in his first season, which he had multiple 5-star players who all warranted significant minutes. Season two should give us another glimpse of how he can handle another star-studded roster.
This year is no different for guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain, who are in a peculiar position. Both players are elite and good enough to play heavy minutes, or even start for the Blue Devils, but both have elite guard play ahead of them in the depth chart in Proctor and Roach.
The decommitment of 5-star wing Mackenzie Mgbako, who was likely to be a starter, left a spot in the starting lineup and an opportunity for Duke to tinker with the idea of a 3-guard lineup.
With that in mind, how would Duke fair with a 3-guard lineup, and who would occupy that spot in the rotation?
There has been so much positive to say about what Caleb Foster brings to the table for Duke, offensively and defensively.
He’s a legitimate 6-foot-5 point guard who can score and pass the ball at a very high level. Foster thrives in the pick-and-roll, a staple in Duke’s offense, and can also break his man down and get a bucket when needed, which is also a precious skill.
Jared McCain, the social media juggernaut, is an elite basketball player.
What makes McCain so lethal?
His ability to stretch the floor with his deadly jump shot and overall scoring prowess makes him a legitimate threat on the court and he is a very stocky-built guard who plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Both guards have ingratiated themselves seamlessly into the Duke culture and nothing but rave reviews have been reported on how they have played in practice and the secret scrimmage against Villanova.
Figuring out who will be the final starter for the Duke basketball team
Tyrese Proctor has everything to do with Caleb Foster not being the starting point guard.
They were initially in the same recruiting class before Proctor was reclassified but with the season Proctor had last year, and the expectations on him, this clears the way for him to occupy the starting point guard slot.
However, there does appear to be a need for a stabilizer in the second unit.
Being able to rely on your floor general to organize and settle your team is a crucial component of team success. Foster occupying this role is likely to be fruitful for his draft stock and the success of his team.
So, it does not seem likely for Foster to get the nod as the final starter.
A huge selling point for recruits is that 24 former Duke players are on NBA rosters, only second in the country to Kentucky.
Limited playing time can hinder one’s ability to showcase skills and develop a strong resume for the next level and this challenge is what Foster and McCain will be staring right in the face.
Fortunately, both freshmen should have significant roles this season and give NBA scouts plenty of opportunity to evaluate how their talents translate to the next level.
Jon Scheyer has done an excellent job juggling talent and this season should be business as usual. He has a penchant for sticking with what works and who’s playing well.
The challenge is real, and the Blue Devils have its eyes on the prize and are expected to compete for the National Championship.