Kyle Filipowksi returns to the Duke Blue Devils and makes them the clear favorite in the ACC.
As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.
Jon Scheyer is looking to make a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament with the Duke Blue Devils after being bounced the first weekend in his first season. He has the squad to do it, being loaded with an elite freshman class, as always, but also bringing back veteran leadership to guide the 2023 class in the way of winning.
Aside from Filipowski, who is an early contender for ACC Player of the Year, Duke brings back Mark Mitchell, Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, and Ryan Young, among others. This core from last years team won the ACC, mainly as freshman, so added experience should do nothing but make them better for this season.
In the freshman class, Jared McCain, five star prospect, leads the way and will likely be the lone first year in the starting five. Sean Stewart, TJ Power, and Caleb Foster round out the elite class.
Duke is the clear favorite in the conference, and the Blue Devils have yet another top team in the preseason. Scheyer now has to get his squad over the hump of falling short in the NCAA Tournament. Durham hopes this is the year Duke brings home a national championship, which is as far from a long shot than Duke has had since their last title.
Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.
Head coach: Jon Scheyer (2nd season, both at Duke)
2022-23 record: 27-9 (14-6)
2023 postseason finish: Lost to Tennessee, 65-52, in second round of NCAA Tournament
Notable departures: Dariq Whitehead (NBA), Dereck Lively II (NBA), Jacob Grandison (Graduated)
Notable non-conference games: vs. Arizona (Nov. 10), vs. Michigan State (Nov. 14, in Chicago), at Arkansas (Nov. 29), vs. Baylor (Dec. 20, in New York City)
PG: Jeremy Roach (6-2, 180, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.6 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.5 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 42.6 FG%
SG: Jared McCain (6-3, 197, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 14 rated recruit
SF: Tyrese Proctor (6-5, 183, So.)
2022-23 stats: 9.4 PPG, 3.3 APG, 3.1 RPG
PF: Mark Mitchell (6-9, 232, So.)
2022-23 stats: 9.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 46.9 FG%
C: Kyle Filipowski (6-11, 248, So.)
2022-23 stats: 15.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, 44.1 FG%
6: Sean Stewart (6-9, 227, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 22 rated recruit
7: TJ Power (6-9, 216, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 17 rated recruit
8: Ryan Young (6-10, 238, Gr.-Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 6.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 68.5 FG%
9: Caleb Foster (6-5, 197, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 23 rated recruit
10: Jaylen Blakes (6-2, 2014, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 3.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.3 APG
11: Jaden Schutt (6-5, 180, So.)
2022-23 stats: 2.1 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 35.7 FG%
Duke Blue Devils MVP: Kyle Filipowski
A Duke Blue Devils freshman, specifically a reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, returning for his sophomore year is almost unheard of. Kyle Filipowski was looking like a sure-fire first rounder, and yet he chose to stay in Durham for his second year and defend the Blue Devils ACC title.
Filipowski does not shoot as well as one might like for a center, but he plays the role of more of a modern big. Filipowski stretches the floor, is able to play off the dribble, and has a decent shooting stroke. If he can improve his clip from beyond the arc, he could be on his way to even more accolades.
What is most promising for Filipowski is his turnaround against some of the better defenses in the ACC. In the regular season, the freshman scored 0 points in his first ever matchup with Virginia. In the ACC Tournament championship, he dropped 20 points on top of 10 rebounds.
The offense will run through Filipowski, and the defense will go as far as he does. He will be the top option on one side of the ball while being the enforcer and rim protector on the other. A tall task, but one of the ACC’s premier players this season should be able to take on the task.
Duke Blue Devils make-or-break player: Jeremy Roach
Duke went as far as Jeremy Roach took them last season. In eight losses, Roach averaged below 10 points per game, four points below his season average. The floor general for Duke operates the offense, and when he falters, the team falters.
Roach has to understand that the offense does not necessarily rely on him, but, rather, runs through him. He does not need to be a bucket getter, rather a bucket creator. He is surrounded by offensive talent, and if he can facilitate said talent, he does his job. When a shot needs to be made, he can create it and take it himself, but Duke does not need him to be outstanding at scoring the ball.
Defense is crucial for Roach. In an ACC loaded with point guards, Roach needs to shut them down. Simple concept for such a tall task, though. However, if Roach can just limit production of point guards around the league, Duke will not only win games, they will blow out opponents due to how talented they are otherwise.
Key analytic: TO/G
Duke turned the ball over 12 times per game last season, good for 138th in the nation. They also turned opponents over less than 10 times per game, meaning they lost out on two possessions per game, on average.
A team in championship contention should never turn the ball over more than opponents. Duke was rather sloppy with the ball a season ago, and that needs to change if they make a deeper run this season. More experience and comfort for the college game should make Duke better at taking care of the rock, but this is a statistic to pay attention to for the Blue Devils.
Duke Blue Devils 2023-24 projections
Projected conference finish: 1st in the ACC
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament Champions