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3 takeaways from No. 9 Duke men's basketball's scrimmage against No. 4 Villanova

Paolo Banchero at the five could be a dynamic lineup piece for Duke.
Paolo Banchero at the five could be a dynamic lineup piece for Duke.

Duke suited up against preseason No. 4 Villanova in a closed-doors scrimmage Saturday in Washington, and the program posted some highlights to YouTube. Here are our main takeaways:

Durham Five

Paolo Banchero at center, surrounded by four shooters. A small-ball enthusiast’s dream. Early in the highlights, the Duke starting five featured Banchero, Wendell Moore Jr., Joey Baker, Trevor Keels and Jeremy Roach, opening up the lane in ideal fashion. Near the 0:20 mark, Roach broke down Collin Gillespie off the dribble and kicked to Baker for a left corner triple, a staple of the junior wing’s offensive repertoire. 

If that lineup is used come tipoff, expect the pace and space approach to become a key weapon for the Blue Devils. With the distinctive versatility of Banchero, Keels’ skill set as a combo guard and improved marksmanship from Moore, Baker and Roach, head coach Mike Krzyzewski has an enticing option on the table. 

Pesky Roach

Call the exterminator. The playmaking ability of Keels will likely ease his load, but for Jeremy Roach, activity will still be the name of the game this season. The sophomore guard was tenacious defensively Saturday, kickstarting a couple fast breaks with deflections. The Virginia native even did some dirty work, taking a charge at the 3:44 mark on a Brandon Slater baseline drive. 

Roach hounding opposing guards and being a committed help defender, along with the sturdy Keels and the hyperaggressive Jaylen Blakes, gives Duke a dynamic defensive backcourt . 

Strong John

John stood out in Countdown to Craziness with his footwork and jump hook, and Saturday included some additional solid tape for the Marquette transfer. John finished through contact twice in the post, displaying an ability to dip his shoulder and utilize a spin on subsequent clips. Plus, he chipped in arguably the play of the day, a throwdown over Jermaine Samuels in transition. 

The Minneapolis native is more than just an older voice in the locker room. He projects to receive at least 15 minutes of playing time, spelling Mark Williams and offering his polished post skill set to complement Banchero. 


Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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