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, Ryan Young, Christian Reeves, Jaylen Blakes and Jaden Schutt. Next is Australian phenom Tyrese Proctor:
Last year’s Statline: N/A
Game breakdown: An international star from 9626 miles away, freshman guard Tyrese Proctor might be the most interesting and unpredictable player on this Blue Devil squad—in a good way. The Sydney, Australia, native, and only overseas player on the team this year, is a pretty good basketball player.
Proctor is a true freshman, but he has some of the most experience on the team. He played for Australia in the FIBA Asian Cup and World Cup and took part in the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit with four of his fellow Blue Devils. Not only has Proctor played at a high level of competition, he has thrived in it. This summer in the Australian U20 championships, the 18-year-old showed his craftiness, unpredictable pace and ability to score at all three levels in a dominating fashion. He averaged 27.4 points in 31.7 minutes per game and shot 46.5% from the field, living up to the hype.
Role on the team: Duke’s backcourt includes junior captain Jeremy Roach, graduate transfer Jacob Grandison and sophomore returner Jaylen Blakes, among others; it is an elite collection of ball players with plenty of college experience. But Proctor is just as good as any member of the group. The five-star prospect plays with the poise of a veteran and is equipped with elite ball handling and playmaking ability. His skill set will be valuable for the Blue Devil squad in any role he assumes, though right now that role is still relatively unclear. Toward the beginning of the season, Proctor will most likely come off the bench while more experienced guards like Roach and Grandison start or fill in for the injured Dariq Whitehead, but the freshman might have the most upside on the team. Depending on how he plays in the early stages of the year, he could potentially be in the starting lineup by the new year.
NBA comparison: Proctor’s size and skillset makes him comparable to Oklahoma City guard Tre Mann. The second-year player out of Florida is a smooth operator on the perimeter, equipped with shiftiness and a deep bag of dribble moves that allow him to get open for shots at all three levels. Both players are effective both on and off the ball, which is helpful when coaches want to go small and play with multiple ball handlers on the floor. As a rookie, Mann averaged 10.4 points in 22.8 minutes per game and shot 39.3% from the floor. Expect Proctor to produce similar numbers for Duke this season with a higher shooting percentage.
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