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, Jaden Schutt, Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell. Kyle Filipowski is next:
Last year’s stat line: N/A
Game breakdown: Plenty of 7-foot basketball players let their height do the work for them on the court. Kyle “Flip” Filipowski is not one of them. The center is quick on his feet, ready to maneuver around the court to make himself open for the pass. Once he has the ball in tow, he either banks a three, slam dunks or gets the ball to a teammate and quickly jumps into rebound-ready formation. Filipowski's shooting ability is what establishes his game as that of a five-star recruit: in his high-school career, he claimed 1,712 points, many being the result of perfect jumpers from outside the arc. Because of his picture-perfect form and quick reaction times, this towering New Yorker’s shooting arms are unfazed by defensive attempts from opponents; whether or not he has a man in his way, Filipowski is bound to sink his shot.
On defense, the skilled rebounder is just as energetic: where the basketball goes, Filipowski follows. He grabbed 973 rebounds in his high school career, along with 186 steals, many stemming from immediate movement down the court, as the Wilbraham & Monson Academy product is remarkably agile in ball-handling.
Filipowski’s secret weapon is his agility. His staggering stature does nothing to limit his movement on the court. One of the Blue Devil’s best attacking forms is stealing the ball, running into a fast-break then dunking within mere seconds. With his ability to shoot, steal, dribble and rebound, Filipowski is a versatile asset for Duke.
Role on the team: Filipowski follows teammate Dereck Lively II as the No. 2 center in the 2022 recruiting class, meaning the Westtown, N.Y., native’s seven feet of talent will frequent the court in Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. And though the 7-foot-1 Lively may have an inch of height on him, Filipowski is certainly not playing in anyone’s shadow. In high school, he proved himself a spectacular player, earning the title of Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior and leading the USA Basketball 3x3 U18 team to a gold medal in the World Cup last year. Filipowski joins "The Brotherhood" right as Jon Scheyer starts his tenure as head coach, meaning his freshman season is already bound to be a historic one. The center’s impressive skillset and top-tier prospects are sure to make it even more so. Though the big man is new to the collegiate game, he has the all-star potential to lead the Blue Devils to a No. 1 seed in March Madness—and a possible tournament win. Filipowski is ready to dominate the competition in a promising freshman season that will be one to watch.
NBA comparison: Filipowski’s game is comparable to that of Denver Nuggets star center Nikola Jokić, who has carried home the title of NBA MVP two years in a row. Like his Blue Devil counterpart, Jokić is a feisty rebounder, averaging 10.4 per game this season. He is also incredibly athletic—the Nuggets center often darts around the court to secure possession of the ball or launches himself in the air to block the opposing teams shots. Both Jokić and Filipowski tower over their fellow players—the former being just an inch shorter—and use their height to assert aggressive and effective defense. While they have different shooting strengths—Filipowski is a masterful jumper from downtown and the Nuggets star is known for his impressive 88.0% free-throw success, one thing is clear: both centers are gifted at the magical flick of the wrist.
Projected stats: 9.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 22 MPG
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Sophie Levenson is a Trinity sophomore and sports features editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.