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Duke men's basketball 2020-21 player review: Jeremy Roach

Roach, while inconsistent at times, established a role as a solid outside shooter and director of traffic in his debut season.
Roach, while inconsistent at times, established a role as a solid outside shooter and director of traffic in his debut season.

Jeremy Roach

  • Year: Freshman
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Position: Guard
  • This year’s stat line: 8.7 PPG, 2.8 APG, 2.2 RPG, 27.4 MPG
  • Blue Zone’s predicted stat line: 11.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 28.8 MPG

Season breakdown: Jeremy Roach came to Duke as a highly-recruited five-star guard, expected to start for the Blue Devils at the point guard position. It was anticipated that the freshman would utilize his confidence and driving ability to make plays for himself and his teammates. Roach started out ACC play hot, averaging just over 16 points a game over the first five conference games of the season. This was highlighted by a 22-point outing against a strong Virginia Tech team, his career high for the year. 

Unfortunately, after his solid performances in the beginning of the season, Roach’s play became much more inconsistent and streaky. He alternated between a few games of significant offensive output and then a couple nights of poor shooting and little in the way of production. In fact, Roach had three separate two-game stretches in which he scored three points or fewer.  

Roach played the role of a combo guard more than a pure point guard, being called on as a scorer just as much as a facilitator. That being said, nearly three assists per game is nothing to scoff at, and he recorded five assists or more five times during the course of the season. He also remained fairly efficient, shooting 45.6% from the field and an unspectacular but competent 31.3% from deep. 

Results relative to expectations: As was the case with most freshmen not only at Duke but throughout the country, Roach seemed to have a hard time in part due to the diminished length of the preseason. Programs led by one-and-dones across the country struggled this year, as they simply had less time to fuse together all the talents brought in by recruiting. Simply put, it is difficult for a player to find consistency when the roster rotation and playing style are constantly being tweaked even as the season progresses. 

Due to this, Roach did not quite live up to the expectations as far as his offensive capabilities. Although size was not usually an issue, his height sometimes made it tougher to finish over taller bigs, especially those standing above the ones he likely played in high school. Moreover, he was not relied on as a leader, never really being the one with the ball in his hands in crunch time. 

However, Roach showed flashes of brilliance, making momentum plays for Duke at times. Roach improved significantly as an on-ball defender as the season progressed, and made huge strides in his decision-making. Ultimately, though Roach may not have quite lived up to the excitement, he did show excellent potential on both sides of the ball. Ideally, he will continue to improve throughout the offseason and have a breakout season in his sophomore year.

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