Duke men's basketball shared a video to YouTube of their most recent scrimmages on July 22, so we broke it down here and brought you five observations.
Banchero showcases his versatility
As was the case from his high school and AAU highlight reels, Banchero is not your typical 6-foot-10, 250-pounder. The Seattle native has guard skills, along with a polished arsenal in the low post extended area. Throughout the scrimmages, Banchero served a variety of roles offensively, from initiator to screener on pick and pops. His blend of speed, agility and strength was on full display, allowing the talented freshman to operate from anywhere on the floor. On the other end, Banchero proved that the same brand of flexibility applies, as he was able to protect the rim on drives from the wing and defend the low post. Expect his multifaceted skillset to be a continuing theme when November arrives.
Too much overdribbling
Obviously, these players are still getting a feel for each other and their respective tendencies. But still, there were certain junctures of the action where the Blue Devils spent too much time putting the ball on the floor, oftentimes in response to tight man-to-man on the perimeter. That made it easier for the defense to settle in and force contested shots, which should be an indication for how things will go during the season if Duke fails to spread it around. If everyone is going to get their fair share of opportunities, the Blue Devil guards will have to counter pressure with quick passing.
Jeremy Roach going uptempo often
If Duke is going to be a true threat to make it back to the Final Four, Roach’s play might just be the dividing line, and for good reason. With this array of talented scorers, someone needs to be able to direct traffic and control the pace for the Blue Devils. Based on the tape, Roach was able to do that for long stretches, as the sophomore played with a bounce in his step. The Virginia native played fast, getting his teammates down the floor and showing a willingness to fire from distance before the defense got set.
Moore looking comfortable as ball handler
His improvement over the last 12 games of 2020-21—during which his scoring average jumped from 7.6 points on 33.3% to 11.8 points per game on 49.1% from the field—partially contributed to the Blue Devil’s offensive efficiency rising from 104.4 during the first half of the year to 111.4 during the second half. Moore isn’t one to put up gaudy stats, but the recent film shows that the North Carolina native is being charged with running the offense for a sizable number of possessions. The junior looked comfortable in the pick and roll, and set up his teammates with wide open looks multiple times. Moore’s connection with Joey Baker—a tandem that may feature heavily as part of Duke’s second unit—was specifically evident.
Outside jumpers galore
Last season, the Blue Devils attempted nearly 24 3-pointers a night, an increase of roughly four triples from 2019-2020. And now that seven of Duke’s likely nine main rotation players can stretch the floor, that number may even rise a little more in 2021-22. When a ballhandler such as Roach or Moore penetrated, multiple shooters were ready on the outside in the event that the defense collapsed. Obviously, the Blue Devils can’t totally fall in love with the trey ball, considering the presence of Mark Williams along with AJ Griffin's and Trevor Keels’ ability to produce off the dribble.
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Max Rego is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume.