As basketball season quickly approaches, the Blue Zone takes a detailed look at Duke men’s basketball’s 2022-23 roster, with a preview of each player. Previously, we’ve highlighted Stanley Borden, Spencer Hubbard, Max Johns, Kale Catchings and Ryan Young. Next up is big man Christian Reeves:
Last year’s statline: N/A
Game breakdown: As a later-offered member of this freshman recruiting class, three-star big man Christian Reeves committed to head coach Jon Scheyer and the Blue Devils the night he received the opportunity.
The freshman center is a graduate of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, a high school that has produced a lot of NBA talent but also a number of Duke basketball stars. 2015 graduate Quinn Cook and former coach and player Nolan Smith are both Warrior alumni.
Reeves provided a lot of height and length to the Oak Hill squad in the 2021-22 season. Under coach Steve Smith, Reeves functioned as more of a traditional big—not a guy that is going to stretch the floor with his outside shot, but use his height to get shots off in the low post and work the offensive glass. The 7-foot-1 senior averaged 9.2 points per game on a .639 shooting clip, in addition to 7.4 rebounds per game.
Role on the team: Reeves has a lot of competition within his position group this year. The Blue Devil squad holds five centers this year, including the top-ranked player in the freshman class, Dereck Lively II, and the fourth-ranked player, Kyle Filipowski. While Reeves has played at a high level of competition throughout his high school career, he has not dominated that competition like the other two centers. In addition, this year’s Duke squad features a number of skilled guards and bigger wings, including 6-foot-7 forward Dariq Whitehead and 6-foot-8 forward Mark Mitchell. Duke will most likely look to go small in the majority of games with only one big man on the floor at a time, which may also limit Reeves’ minutes. With that being said, the 18-year-old is still a big body with lots of experience against elevated competition and could be very valuable down the stretch when Lively and Filipowski may be in foul trouble.
NBA comparison: Reeves’ size and length alone make him comparable to a lot of big men in the NBA, but his skill set does not match up with a lot of bigs in the modern game due to his relative inability to shoot from outside. The closest NBA comparison for Reeves would be Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen. Both Reeves and Allen share a similar slim stature, with longer arms and legs, even though Reeves actually has four inches on the NBA big man. Both centers like to play in the lower post and use their height, length and athleticism to clean the offensive glass and catch lobs from teammates. Last year, Allen averaged 16.1 points per game to go along with 10.8 rebounds. He was also operating on 32.3 minutes per game—a lot more than Reeves is projected to get this season—but if the big man marshals the middle for any substantial time this year for the Blue Devils, expect him to be very active in these two categories.
Projected stats: 4.0 MPG, 0.8 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.2 BPG
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