Film room: Analyzing Duke men's basketball forward Dariq Whitehead

Dariq Whitehead looks to be an impact player on both ends of the court.
Dariq Whitehead looks to be an impact player on both ends of the court.

A new era of Duke men's basketball is on the horizon, and with it comes an almost entirely new roster. In this series, the Blue Zone analyzes film on each of the Blue Devils' new signees and transfers for the 2022-23 season. We previously looked at Kale Catchings, Ryan Young, Jaden Schutt and Mark Mitchell. Next, let’s take a look at Dariq Whitehead:

As one of the highest ranked incoming freshmen, five-star forward Dariq Whitehead has the potential to be the most impactful of the highly-touted group. Whitehead brings a 6-foot-6 frame, which could be used at either the small forward or shooting guard position, depending on how first-year head coach Jon Scheyer decides to use his impressive group of big men. 

Coming out of Montverde Academy in Florida, Whitehead caught the attention of an impressive list of schools, including Florida, Florida State, Kansas and, of course, Duke. He is a complete three-level scorer with solid handles and carries over his high-energy play to the defensive end as well. 

The beginning of Whitehead's rise was spearheaded by his impressive play in the McDonald All-American game, where he would win MVP with an impressive 13 point, seven rebound and seven assist game. This brief clip demonstrates just how impressive Whitehead was as a playmaker in that game. The first three plays show how impactful he can be for Duke next season. He displayed his ability to feed his teammates in the paint as he found Jarace Walker an easy score down low. The second play shows his ability to create on the fast break, finding fellow Duke commit Dereck Lively II on a long pass for the easy basket. In the third play, the New Jersey native displayed his shooting ability, dropping in an easy bucket from long range. 

In the Team USA vs. World game, Whitehead displayed his defensive prowess, coming away with three steals. In the clip below, he shows his ability to read the opposing offense, understand the ball movement and jump into the passing lanes in order to come away with the ball. He finishes the play with an unselfish pass on the break. Despite the lack of a basket to finish off the play, the impressive ability to read the passing lanes and then find his teammates for a quick layup is something that will greatly benefit the Blue Devils in the upcoming season. 

In this final clip from the 2021 City of Palms tournament, all three levels of Whitehead’s scoring are on display. First, he pulls out a step-back three, a key move in order to create enough space from the defender to put up a good attempt. Second, the forward does a clean crossover, showing both his smooth handles and his ability to create space, before draining the easy mid-range jumper. Lastly, the 18-year-old shows flashes of his speed on the fast break, getting ahead of the opponents after a steal and then flying in for the easy dunk. 

Whitehead has the potential to provide a huge impact for the upcoming season and could cement himself as a star early on with his impressive abilities on both ends of the floor. 


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