Duke basketball coaching staff wished for transfer prospect before entering portal

The Blue Devil coaches always had their eyes on one of its transfer additions
Phil Knight Legacy Tournament - Duke basketball transfer Mason Gillis
Phil Knight Legacy Tournament - Duke basketball transfer Mason Gillis / Soobum Im/GettyImages

The Duke basketball coaching staff had its eyes set on transfers it wanted to target in the portal this offseason and did not take long to make the first move.

Jon Scheyer, in his appearance on The Brotherhood Podcast, detailed to former Blue Devil Jay Bilas what he and his assistants were looking for in players they were trying to bring to Durham this season and the story behind Purdue's Mason Gillis was very ironic.

"You watch what Purdue has done and he's been a key guy for them for years," Scheyer explained.

"He's the ultimate connector, winner."

Gillis averaged 6.5 points per game this season for the Boilermakers, falling in the National Championship Game, shooting 46.8-percent from 3-point range. He had eight points against Duke when the two programs matched up two years ago.

"We were talking as a [coaching] staff one day, true story, and we were just talking about the type of player we'd be looking for and [associate head coach] Chris Carrawell said, 'Look, those guys are good that's being mentioned, but the guy that we need is Mason Gillis.'"

Scheyer explained that this was before Gillis entered the transfer portal and the entire coaching staff agreed that the attributes the 6-foot-6 forward possess would be perfect for Duke.

A week later, Mason Gillis enters the transfer portal and commits to the Blue Devils shortly after.

Jon Scheyer said he called Purdue head coach Matt Painter very quickly after Gillis entered the portal to see what type of person the Big Ten's Sixth Man of the Year is and Painter happened to be also on the phone with Gillis at the time.

It seems like the perfect marriage between Duke and Mason Gillis as he's expected to bring elite shooting, quality defense, and veteran leadership to the young team.

The Blue Devils also added Syracuse's Maliq Brown, Tulane's Sion James, and Rice's Cameron Sheffield in the transfer portal.