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 and Max Johns. Next up is graduate transfer Kale Catchings:
Year: Graduate student
Last year’s statline (Harvard): 9.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 24.3 MPG
Game breakdown: Although not Harvard’s most impactful player, last year Kale Catchings made huge strides by cementing his role as a consistent player on both sides of the floor. Most notably, his minutes rose from 5.8 per game in his sophomore season to 24.3 during his senior year, indicating Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker’s trust in the forward.
Catchings’ best stretch as a senior came during his last four games with the Crimson. The O’ Fallon, Mo., native averaged 12.8 points per game, including a 19-point bang against Princeton. Against the Tigers, Catchings displayed his offensive potential, including multiple strong drives to the rim against a quality Tigers defense. Perhaps the most intriguing attribute of Catchings’ game is his ability to guard all positions, which is an attribute that is crucial as a bench piece.
Role on the team: There’s no doubt that Catchings has the ability to play Division I basketball—his senior season at Harvard proved just that. However, taking the jump to playing competitive minutes in the ACC is another monster. Catchings must utilize his experience significantly to get playing time off Duke’s bench. Though he's not the most electrifying player on the 2022-23 roster, Catchings is an athletic forward who has the potential to add depth to Duke’s frontcourt.
Catchings may have a similar season to how former Duke big Justin Robinson fared. Robinson did not have consistent minutes at the start of his graduate year season in 2019-20, yet by the end, he played a key role off of Duke’s bench. Catchings must look to add value as a veteran leader on a young team with loads of potential.
NBA comparison: As undersized forwards go, the Celtics' Grant Williams is one of the up-and-comers at the role in the NBA. With the team last year, Williams flashed his 3-point ability, shooting 41.1% from behind the arc. Further, Williams brought value to the Celtics through his hustle and defense, which Catchings will look to emulate with the Blue Devils.
Projected stats: 1.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 3.4 MPG
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