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Film room: Analyzing Duke men's basketball point guard Jeremy Roach

Roach has a high ceiling at the guard spot and it will be interesting to see how head coach Mike Krzyzewski incorporates him.
Roach has a high ceiling at the guard spot and it will be interesting to see how head coach Mike Krzyzewski incorporates him.

Another year, another new crop of men's basketball players coming to Durham. In this series, we will analyze film on each of Duke’s signees and transfers for the 2020-21 season. Previous film rooms include Jalen Johnson and DJ Steward. Let’s continue with the player who could be next in line at the point guard spot: Jeremy Roach.

Replacing Tre Jones, someone who shined as a scorer, distributor, and defender throughout the past two seasons, is a tall task. When considering the abilities of incoming freshman Jeremy Roach, however, the Blue Devils may have found someone who could help fill the void left by the 2020 ACC Player of the Year. 

Roach, who was named the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year at the conclusion of his senior season, displays some key components that head coach Mike Krzyzewski covets in a point guard. On both ends of the floor, he has a distinct impact, averaging 19.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest. This multifaceted skill set helped him lead Paul VI Catholic High School to a state title this past spring. 

Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 180 pounds, Roach has the typical body type of an ACC point guard. However, his athleticism is what really stands out, and it is a trait that pushed the Leesburg native to the top of national recruiting rankings. With a quick first step and an ability to hang in the air while finishing at the rim, Roach has a knack for punishing defenses in transition and attacking big men who are late to help in the half court. 

He also possesses a high basketball IQ, as the McDonald’s All-American showed excellent decision-making skills during high school league play and the AAU circuit. Whether it is setting up a teammate with a precise outlet pass or driving and kicking for an open jumper, Roach clearly knows how to make life easier for those around him. With him running the show, the Blue Devils could have an efficient and unselfish offensive attack. 

Roach’s impressive athleticism and standout basketball IQ also allow him to pick the perfect spots to be aggressive in terms of his on-ball defense. Constant pressure by an athletic defender such as Roach can wear out a ball handler, allowing the consensus five-star to then exploit his matchup by swiping at the ball from multiple angles. He clearly has both the skills and judgment to create countless fast break opportunities without picking up costly fouls.

In terms of how he fits with the other players on the roster, it appears that the best backcourt partner for Roach out of the gate would be fellow newcomer DJ Steward. Both players can be devastating in the open court, are extremely athletic and can play off the ball. While Roach still has room for improvement with his outside jumper, he has a tendency to find the open spot on the floor to convert on a clean look. 

Luckily, any rough patches that Roach may experience will be slightly offset by the presence of veteran point guard Jordan Goldwire. Goldwire, who has carved out a niche for Duke through hustle and leadership, may prove to be an ideal mentor for the young Roach. Either way, look for the promising floor general to make an impact on the Blue Devil playing style and collective flow throughout the season. 

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