According to Aaron Beard of The Associated Press,
Duke, ranked second in the country, emerged victorious in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament during their inaugural season of significant changes within their coaching staff. They appear well-equipped to compete for further success.
The next team led by Jon Scheyer will have four familiar starters, such as All-American center Kyle Filipowski and point guard Tyrese Proctor. Duke has also recruited a highly talented class, providing the team with strong options in the backcourt and on the wings as they compete for their sixth NCAA championship.
At the beginning of Scheyer’s time as the replacement for Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski, they had a mixed performance. However, they finished strong and secured the program’s 22nd ACC Tournament championship, setting a league record. Unfortunately, they were ultimately defeated by a tough Tennessee team in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
However, the implications of the 10-game winning streak still remain relevant in regards to how Duke maintains its excellence under a new head coach.
Scheyer expressed that everything felt new and the team was still adjusting to the changes. However, there is a sense of familiarity as they know each other and have a core understanding of what it takes to succeed, which will help them as they adapt to the new style of play this year.
Duke lost a first-round NBA draft pick in the middle with shot-blocking and rim-running big man Dereck Lively II, but the 7-foot Filipowski returns as last year’s Associated Press league newcomer of the year. And he’s joined by three other returning starters who are on the ascent.
Proctor demonstrated potential as a skilled facilitator and exceptional defender. On the wing, Mark Mitchell contributed with his size and physical prowess. Additionally, veteran guard Jeremy Roach played a crucial role in Duke’s journey to the 2022 Final Four, during Coach K’s last season.
According to 247sports, Duke secured the second-highest rated recruiting class in the country, which includes four top-25 recruits. The top recruit is 6-2 guard Jared McCain.
“Our individual strengths are all unique from one another,” stated Filipowski. “This is beneficial for our team because it allows us to be versatile and rely on different strengths as needed.”
FILIPOWSKI’S NEXT STEP
Filipowski will now have to shoulder a heavier burden with Lively leaving, as he will need to maintain his high scoring and rebounding numbers while also focusing on improving his defensive skills and becoming more dependable when defending beyond the three-point line. Additionally, he underwent surgery on both hips to alleviate discomfort and enhance his range of motion, potentially resulting in improved agility outside of the key.
The slender 6-5 Proctor reclassified to graduate a year early out of Australia and struggled early in adjusting to physical play at the college level. But he thrived late; after scoring in double figures in four of his first 16 games, he hit that mark in 14 of his last 20.
Anticipate Scheyer to rotate his strategy with regards to Filipowski’s positioning.
Proctor stated that they have multiple lineup options, including himself, Jared, and Jeremy playing together. He believes this will benefit their offense by keeping the defense guessing about who will take control of the ball.
McCain is the headliner of the recruiting class, a McDonald’s All-American ranked No. 14 nationally by 247sports. There’s another five-star prospect in 6-9 forward T.J. Power, as well as a second McDonald’s All-American in 6-8 forward Sean Stewart to go with 6-5 point guard Caleb Foster.
The Duke men’s basketball team will kick off their season on November 6th against Dartmouth. They will then face a lineup of notable opponents, beginning with a home game against No. 12 Arizona on November 10th at Cameron Indoor Stadium. On November 14th, Duke will take on No. 4 Michigan State, followed by an away game against No. 14 Arkansas on November 29th. They will also play No. 20 Baylor at Madison Square Garden on December 20th.
On December 2, Duke will play against Georgia Tech to start the league games, and their last regular-season game will be against their 19th-ranked rival, North Carolina, on March 9.