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Blue Devils Tames Broncos, 82-45

As the Jon Scheyer era at Duke gets underway.

Clemson v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 25: Cameron Crazies and fans of the Duke Blue Devils pose for a photo with the Duke mascot prior to the game against the Clemson Tigers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 25, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 71-69.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Duke fans got their first look at the Jon Scheyer era Wednesday night and we have to say, it was pretty solid.

Keep in mind first that the #1 and #2 players in this year’s freshman class (nationally, not just at Duke), Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively, did not play due to injuries.

Granted, it was Fayetteville State and not Florida or NC State, and Duke had little trouble, but still, there was a lot of good news. Let’s start with the players.

Freshmen first: Tyrese Proctor was really good. He showed a lot of great instincts and got to the basket with relative ease. He’s certainly able to play point as needed. Great instincts. He’s legit. He closed the first half with a gorgeous three pointer.

Kyle Filipowski got a little three point happy late but otherwise, he played quite well. He had one dazzling move in the lane and handled himself inside well. And he did hit on threes. he also had two brutal blocks.

Mark Mitchell is going to be a pain in the ass. He reminds us in a way of Luol Deng. He looks like he’s not moving fast but of course he is. He’s good on both ends and creative. Loved him.

Jaden Schutt played 15 minutes and was not overly impressive. Keep in mind that he’s moving up from essentially a high school minor league to the ACC. It may take him a bit to adapt.

Christian Reeves, who is expected to redshirt, played in the second half. He was aggressive and ran the floor beautifully. He had four rebounds in nine minutes,

Transfers: Ryan Young started and interestingly, Scheyer seemed to go with two bigs most of the night. Worth keeping track of. He did the things we saw this summer: he’s not going to out jump anybody but he’s crafty and really smart in the lane.

Jacob Grandison came off the bench and quickly showed that he could shoot and run the court beautifully. He’s a huge asset. This summer he raved about playing with Jeremy Roach and we could see why. They work very well together.

Kale Catchings played mostly in the second half. He’s strong and very capable. Doesn’t seem to get ahead of himself which is a nice quality. He could step in and really help Duke at various points this year.

Max Johns played for just over 5 12 minutes. He hit a three and, like Catchings, did well.

Returning players: Jeremy Roach had eight assists to one turnover. That’s hard to beat. He didn’t shoot very well - 2-6 - but that’s not a major concern now.

Jaylen Blakes was notably improved. Last year at times he kind of rushed into things. Now he’s more patient and picking his spots. Not surprisingly, his opportunities have improved. He’s much, much better.

Stanley Borden got in at the end and didn’t see a pass that would have gotten him an easy basket. Too bad.

Offensively, every Duke starter headed to the basket at least once in the first couple of minutes. And Duke hit 8-19 on threes which is going to open the court. The Blue Devils were also 14-14 from the line.

Mildly concerning: only six offensive rebounds. Keep in mind that Lively and Whitehead would have helped here.

Duke shot 30-53 and 21 of those baskets were assisted, which is great news.

Defense was pretty good overall. Fayetteville State was forced to work for almost the whole shot clock on several occasions and often had to chuck and pray.

The Broncos shot 19-61 overall and 5-17 on threes. They did get 14 offensive rebounds to Duke’s six but they also missed 42 shots to Duke’s 23.

In general, Duke’s defense looks pretty good and keep in mind that this team only had two scholarship players back - and was missing two of its best players as well.

Fayetteville State did get a few shots in the lane that better teams will hit, but, again, it’s early. We’re not overly worried right now.

Afterwards, Scheyer said this: “It was great to be back in Cameron today. I thought our guys did a great job of sharing the ball and creating effort and energy ... We’re still learning about each other and how to play with one another, but I think it starts with our energy on the defensive end and carried over to our offense, where we shared the ball and we played together.”

He also said that Whitehead wouldn’t play Monday - he’s still a couple of weeks away - but Lively is day-to-day.

In general, we thought things went very well. We’re looking forward to Monday.