Duke men’s basketball 2022-23 player review: Jacob Grandison

<p>Jacob Grandison adjusts at the rim in Duke's win against Oral Roberts March 16.</p>

Jacob Grandison adjusts at the rim in Duke's win against Oral Roberts March 16.

With Duke’s season officially in the books, the Blue Zone breaks down each player's season, including comparisons to their preseason projections. We previously looked at Jaylen Blakes and Jaden Schutt. Next up is Jacob Grandison:

Jacob Grandison

Season breakdown: After racking up 1,209 minutes and 426 points for Illinois, Jacob Grandison transferred to Duke to play out his final year of eligibility. Grandison earned the catch-all label of “winner” from head coach Jon Scheyer in the preseason, and while he ceded the spotlight to the Blue Devils' emerging freshmen, he certainly played up to this title during the season.

The Oakland, Calif., native didn’t start a single game during Duke’s 2022-23 season, but played in all 36 contests. Grandison was an integral part of the Blue Devils' rotation, playing as one of the team’s first options off the bench with fellow graduate student Ryan Young and freshman Dariq Whitehead. Grandison did not adopt one singular role while playing for the Blue Devils; instead, he fit whatever mold the team needed him to fit.

Against Bellarmine Nov. 21, for example, Grandison showed off the shooting talents that made him so coveted as a transfer, knocking down four treys and scoring 16 points. In Duke’s Feb. 11 overtime loss against Virginia, Grandison scored 11 points, including a 3-pointer to tie the contest with 51 seconds left in regulation. Meanwhile, Grandison was instrumental in a different way in a close win against Miami Jan. 21, dishing out six assists and playing 24 minutes. 

Grandison logged a strong minutes share for Duke all year, playing by far the most out of any player who didn’t record a start. The graduate student was an excellent role player for the Blue Devils during a season that saw them win an ACC tournament title, and he ended his fruitful college career with a loss against Tennessee in the NCAA tournament. No matter what the next career step is for the 24-year-old Grandison, he is sure to be missed in Durham.

Results relative to expectations: Grandison was expected to be a knock-down, no-questions-asked shooter coming out of Illinois, but he didn’t quite live up to the hype. He made 33.7% of his threes, which was good for the Blue Devils, but lower than the Division I team average of 34.1% and a significant reduction from his strong shooting days for the Fighting Illini. Grandison still made more threes than freshman starter Mark Mitchell, and he was very good from the free-throw line, making 16-of-18 attempts.

Perhaps most surprising to the Blue Devil faithful was the role the graduate guard assumed for Duke. Instead of being the true sixth man or even a starter, Grandison competed for time off the bench with Mitchell on the wing. Even when Whitehead and junior guard Jeremy Roach encountered injuries, Grandison wasn’t called up for a start; that was left to sophomore Jaylen Blakes and Young. Perhaps this approach by Scheyer fueled Grandison when he came off the bench. The head coach stated that Grandison was a “calming force” for the team following its victory against Miami. Overall, his production may not have lived up to preseason expectations, but his leadership, intangibles and team-first play certainly did.


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