As the calendar shifts to November, it is becoming apparent that basketball season is on the horizon. That means that it is time for our player previews of every member of Duke men's basketball. Read the previous previews: Mike Buckmire, Michael Savarino, Kennan Worthington, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman III and DJ Steward.
Last year’s statline: N/A
Game breakdown: In his freshman season, Jeremy Roach is entering Duke as the fourth ranked point guard and No. 18 overall recruit in the country according to ESPN Basketball Player Rankings after completing his high school career in Virginia. Roach attended Paul VI High School where he averaged 19.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game during his senior year, leading his school to a VISAA D-1 State Championship. Though he led his team to a 33-4 record and a state championship as a sophomore, he missed the entirety of his junior season due to a torn ACL. He recovered for a superb senior year, being named a 2020 McDonald’s All-American and the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-1 point guard excels on the court as a dynamic athlete and orchestrator of play. He thrives as a driver of the basketball, penetrating the defense with elite athleticism, whether on the break or in the half-court. Despite his previous ACL injury, Roach is relentless when it comes to pushing the pace and attacking defenders at the rim. He is shifty and explosive with the ability to handle the ball and finish plays amongst multiple defenders. As a point-guard, he also possesses play-making abilities, and though not a consistent shooter from range, his smooth mechanics are promising.
Role on the team: The five-star recruit will most likely receive the starting position at point guard. He will be replacing one of the most intricate pieces of last season’s team, Tre Jones, who is expected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Duke fans should hope that Roach can approximate the contributions of Jones, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With fellow freshman guard DJ Steward by his side, along with returning guard and defensive specialist Jordan Goldwire, Roach should anticipate being a primary ball handler and decision-maker.
Roach’s production will be predicated on his ability to drive the ball, distribute to open shooters, and knock down perimeter shots. Expect Roach to use his elite athleticism to attack the basket and either finish or pass out to an open teammate. Even off the ball, he should be able to contribute meaningful minutes as a slasher and capable perimeter shooter. As a player who will frequently create contact, the free throw line will likely be a place where he can accumulate points.
NBA comparison: The best comparison for Jeremy Roach is Donovan Mitchell, the all-star shooting guard for the Utah Jazz. Both of these players are dynamic athletes that possess the ball-handling abilities to maneuver to the basket and create plays. Though not as polished of a shooter, Roach possesses explosiveness, speed, and a physical build similar to Mitchell. In the same way that Mitchell leads the Jazz, Roach is capable of helping propel Duke to a successful season.
Projected stats: 11.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 28.8 MPG
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