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A Look Ahead: Duke Point Guard Play Next Season

Despite a bumpy season, Jeremy Roach showed a lot of potential. Next year, he’ll get a chance to show a lot more.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke Boston College
Mar 9, 2021; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach (3) drives into Boston College Eagles guard Sam Holtze in the first round of the 2021 ACC men’s basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. 
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

While we wait for October to roll around - tick, tick, tick - and a very different Duke team to take the court, let’s look at some potential positions and scenarios for next season.

We thought we’d start with point guard.

It took Jeremy Roach a while to settle in this past season but that wasn’t entirely his fault.

First as you will recall he had a high school knee injury as a junior that limited him somewhat his senior year. We don’t know if he had fully recovered but it set him back, at a minimum, in terms of experience and reps.

Second, Duke has a very carefully thought out approach to preparing for a season and it starts in summer school. That was out due to Covid and canceling part of the non-conference season hurt too. We understand whey they did it, but it set the team back.

And with roles in flux and behind in his development, it’s no surprise it took Roach a while to settle in.

He ended up averaging 27.4 mpg, 9.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 2.8 apg. Roach didn’t shoot overly well, with 45.3 percent overall, 31 percent from behind the line and 67.5 percent on free throws but you should consider first the difficult circumstances of the season, particularly in the fall, the overall youth of the team and, possibly due to his knee, his physical condition.

If it turns out he was still restricted by that, well, we got a reasonably idea late of how good he could be. He managed to move the ball well and showed a propensity for hitting big shots and also had a real knack in the lane which was particularly impressive for a little guy.

Assuming Duke can start preparations on time, he should be vastly improved.

But if he’s not, for whatever reason, Duke has options. Freshman Jaylen Blakes looks to be stronger and will probably push for playing time. And if he’s needed, junior Wendell Moore can fill in as well. He’s not a natural point guard but he can do the job and this past season’s hard knocks will pay off for him going forward. He’s just a solid, smart all-around player.

Realistically though, it’s probably Roach’s job to lose. Our guess is that his improvements will keep that from happening.