Projecting the 2024-25 Duke Blue Devils basketball starting lineup

Here's what the Duke basketball team's starting five might look like in 2024-25 after a busy offseason of talent acquisition.
47th Annual McDonald's All-American Games With Half Time Performances from Lil Yachty and Bia
47th Annual McDonald's All-American Games With Half Time Performances from Lil Yachty and Bia / Marcus Ingram/GettyImages
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Shooting guard: Caleb Foster

Though Scheyer is bringing in several five-star wings as part of his high school recruiting class, it might make sense to start Caleb Foster at the guard spot next to Proctor. After all, as we will discuss momentarily, there will be plenty of freshman influence in Duke's starting five without giving one of the incoming guards a starting role.

Foster was solid as a freshman this past season. He averaged 7.7 points, 2.4 boards, and 2.1 assists in 25.4 minutes of action per contest.

Foster also was able to make 15 starts last season. That means that he will have a bit more experience as a starter at the ACC level than the incoming freshmen.

One area where Foster must improve, though, is on defense. Last season, his defensive rating (an estimate of how many points a player allows per 100 possessions) was 104.6. That was the worst on the Duke roster.

On the other hand, he's a 40.6% shooter from 3-point range for his young career. That's a skill Duke has always coveted and that is one reason Scheyer might turn to him to start.

If Foster does earn a starting role, he had better perform well or else he could lose it. Scheyer will have a host of hungry, talented, and young players looking for their chance to make a mark as first-year players and this is a spot in the starting lineup that doesn't seem to be cemented at this point.

Small forward: Sion James

One intangible that Scheyer said he wanted to add to his team was veteran toughness. He did that in the portal and one of the players he will ask to provide that quality will be Tulane transfer Sion James.

“The way of building a team and getting older, it’s tougher to do that if you don’t have any transfers,” Scheyer said on Tuesday's podcast. “For us, we recruited very well, but having experience is still a very valuable thing.”

With those remarks, it seems as if Scheyer is talking directly about James. The super-senior has appeared in 114 career games, making 107 starts. All came at Tulane.

This past season, he put up 14.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. His scoring and rebounding were both career highs.

This is another spot where Scheyer could go young. He's got five-star small forwards Isaiah Evans and Kon Knueppel set to join the program as freshmen.

However, a player of James' pedigree and experience didn't come to Duke to be a role player. He's here to start and to be a key figure on the court.

There will be plenty of opportunities for the youngsters behind him to learn from James and figure out how to be quality players at the ACC level. That's why James' intangibles might be more important than the stats he puts up next season.

Power forward: Cooper Flagg

Let's finally throw some youth into the mix. There is no way that the nation's top recruit, Cooper Flagg won't crack the starting lineup barring an injury.

Flagg is one of the top prospects to ever come out of the high school ranks and he is the early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft next summer. You don't keep that type of talent on the bench.

While everyone knows that the 6-foot-9 All-American is an offensive force, what could make him special is the fact that his defense is expected to be elite as well. That attribute would make him invaluable to a Duke team that was often exposed in the paint last season.

Flagg is versatile enough to play the small forward or the center spot as well. However, with what Duke has to put around him, playing him at the No. 4 spot on the court makes too much sense.

Center: Khaman Maluach

What should excite Duke fans is the thought of a dream pairing of Flagg and fellow 5-star high school signee Kahman Maluach teaming together to own the paint next season. Even though both will be true freshmen, they could be the best frontcourt duo in the ACC, if not the country, by the time March arrives.

Maluach is a towering 7-foot-1 and at 250 pounds, he should be stout enough to hold up against most opposing big men. What's more, his elite defense could pair with Flagg's skillset to make Duke a nightmare for the opposition's inside game.

However, Maluach isn't just a defensive stopper. "What makes him even more special is that he has legitimate faceup ability," writes Eric Bossi of "He is comfortable taking and making threes and while he needs to get more consistent with his shooting, it is already a legitimate weapon that he'll only improve upon with time."

Just about all of Duke's National Championship teams have featured dominant post players. This coming season, they could have two in Flagg and Maluach.

So don't be afraid to dream Blue Devil fans. This is a starting lineup that could rival any that Duke has fielded in the last 20 years and if each of these pieces reach their full potential, it could be Scheyer's turn to cut down the nets next April.