Duke basketball: Pressure mounting on Jon Scheyer trying to navigate transfer portal

The Blue Devil head coach is hoping to find the right pieces to add to next year's roster
Wake Forest v Duke; Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer
Wake Forest v Duke; Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Jon Scheyer is trying to navigate the pressures of the transfer portal this offseason to fill out the Duke basketball roster much better than he did last year.

The Blue Devils, after losing Dereck Lively II, were in desperate need for a center but Scheyer was unable to find a player who excels at the position and it had the Duke frontcourt playing out of position for the entire season. It was one of the reasons why the team didn't meet some of the preseason expectations.

Now, a year after completely ignoring the portal, Scheyer will be looking to fill out his roster with transfers after seven players decided to leave Duke and enter the portal after its Elite 8 loss to NC State.

Thus far, the Blue Devils have added Syracuse's Maliq Brown and Purdue's Mason Gillis. Neither is the flashiest name that entered the portal but both fill areas of need for Duke.

Scheyer's team needs to get tougher and more physical while also landing players who do not command the basketball or need a lot of shot attempts to be successful.

Duke has plenty of players on its roster that will be taking the bulk of the shots, like returning guards Tyrese Proctor and Caleb Foster as well as incoming freshman Cooper Flagg. It leaves Jon Scheyer with the task of not trying to find the most talented players in the portal, but those who are the best fit for the current roster in Durham.

The Blue Devils have three open scholarships for next season remaining and appear to be in a good place to land Tulane transfer Sion James, which would fill an area of need.

James, a 6-foot-6 guard, would play a backup role to Proctor and Foster with the ability to score the basketball as well as being a distributor, averaging 14.0 points per game last season on 38.1-percent shooting from 3-point range and a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Duke, specifically Jon Scheyer, will have the most pressure on his shoulders entering his third season as the Blue Devil head coach with the addition of Cooper Flagg, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.

A lot of eyes from both the NBA community and college basketball world will be locked on Durham with every game played and Flagg's presence immediately brings championship aspirations.

It's an unenviable spot that Jon Scheyer and his coaching staff are in, not necessarily looking for the best transfers but the right transfers.