It’s the NBA’s turn to activate Keel Mode.
After much speculation, freshman guard Trevor Keels has announced his decision to declare for the 2022 NBA Draft.
Leading up to the decision, released Saturday via Instagram, many debated whether the guard would stay with Duke or go to the pros, and ultimately he elected to go.
"We wish Trevor nothing but the very best as he enters the NBA Draft process," former head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a team release Saturday. "Trevor made tremendous improvement throughout the year and stepped up for us in critical moments. His play late in the season was so important for us in winning the West Regional and reaching the Final Four. It's been a joy having Trevor and his family in our program and we'll continue to be here for him as he explores this next step of his career."
Keels had ups and downs this past season. He scored a team-high 25 points in Duke's season-opening win against Kentucky, but was injured against Florida State Jan. 18 and missed three games. He was Duke's sixth man during the NCAA tournament, but ultimately scored 19 points—second-most on the team—in the Blue Devils' Final Four loss to North Carolina.
The St. Paul VI product's scoring and shooting fluctuated throughout the season, as he shot 41.9% from the field and 31.2% from three and could score anywhere from single-digit to 20+ points on any given night. However, he was a key piece for the Blue Devils as they hunted for a championship in then-head coach Mike Krzyzewski's final season, and he finished the season averaging a very solid 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in 30.2 minutes per game.
Keels has an athletic 6-foot-5, 221-pound build that he utilizes especially well while drawing fouls on dribble drives, and he's shown promise defensively. The Clinton, Md., native was also a reliable playmaker, often running the point and finishing with a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, good for second-best on the team after junior forward Wendell Moore Jr.
The former McDonald's All-American and No. 23 overall recruit for the Class of 2021 was the ACC Freshman of the Week twice throughout the season, once after a three-game stretch in December in which he averaged nearly 15 points per game, and again after posting 25 points against Clemson. He was also named to the ACC All-Rookie Team alongside Duke teammates Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin.
With this resume, the 18-year-old projects to be a late first-round or early second-round pick, as the flashes of excellence he has shown at his young age reflect significant upside for the team that drafts him.
In making his announcement Saturday, Keels joined teammates Banchero, Williams and Moore in declaring for the NBA Draft. Though it's relatively unclear at this point where those four prospects could end up, Blue Devils fans can find out when the draft airs June 23.
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Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.