Before their second game of the season, the Blue Devils are getting a top-tier reinforcement in the frontcourt.
Freshman center Dereck Lively II will be available to make his season debut Friday against USC Upstate, per a team release Friday afternoon. Lively did not play in the Blue Devils' season-opening win Monday against Jacksonville, a Nov. 2 exhibition win against Fayetteville State or October's Countdown to Craziness scrimmage after suffering a calf injury in a preseason practice.
The 7-foot-1 Lively enters his freshman season as the No. 2 prospect in the 2022 class and ACC Preseason Rookie of the Year. While his starting status remains up in the air for Friday, he will be an important piece of Duke's frontcourt alongside fellow freshman Kyle Filipowski and graduate student Ryan Young.
First-year Duke head coach Jon Scheyer provided an injury update on both Lively and Dariq Whitehead—runner-up to Lively for Preseason Rookie of the Year honors—in Monday's postgame availability, saying that Lively had "a great shot to play Friday." Whitehead, who is working his way back to the court after undergoing surgery in August to repair his fractured right foot, is beginning to work on contact.
Duke's matchup against USC Upstate tips off at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.