With Duke’s season officially in the books, the Blue Zone breaks down each player's season, including comparisons to their preseason projections. We already looked at Jaylen Blakes, Jaden Schutt, Jacob Grandison, Ryan Young, Mark Mitchell, and Dariq Whitehead. Next up is Tyrese Proctor:
This year’s stat line: 9.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 29.4 MPG
Season breakdown: A point guard’s job is to control the movement of the court — to handle not only the basketball but also his team. Freshman Tyrese Proctor came to Durham from Down Under to do exactly that this year.
Proctor’s stats follow an uphill slope that reflects his steady progress over the course of the season. In Duke’s first game against Jacksonville, the Sydney native scored just two points — both from the free-throw line. Four months and some change later, Proctor garnered 16 points against a stalwart Tennessee team in a tense NCAA tournament matchup. Like any freshman, the NBA Global Academy product needed time to get used to a college court; once he did, it was lights out from there. Perhaps the moment where Proctor shone brightest was his leading ways in Duke’s first win against North Carolina. Playing point guard, he opened the door for junior captain Jeremy Roach to make waves and then worked some magic of his own. Proctor scored 11 points and collected five assists all while directing smooth and calculated motion in one of the most tenuous matchups of the season.
After that, the Australian’s role became clear. Head coach Jon Scheyer put him at point more often, opening up Roach for shooting and allowing Proctor to lead plays instead. His skillset molded with the new role as he recorded more assists and learned how to control the ball better, ultimately facilitating Duke’s conference championship. Now, Proctor looks exactly like the kind of point guard who can lead a winning team; after announcing Monday morning that he will be returning for a second year, that is exactly what his role will demand.
Results relative to expectations: As a prospect, Proctor garnered a lot of curiosity. With Roach expected to take care of the ball and all eyes entrusting freshman center Dereck Lively II to put points on the board, the 6-foot-5 guard’s role was somewhat unclear. However, his talents were never in doubt, and many expected Proctor, with a well-respected stroke, to shoot close to his field-goal percentage of 38.1 percent. All in all, the Sydney native filled the shoes left out for him by Duke’s rich history of talented freshman guards, even stepping past those expectations by an inch or two as the season closed out.
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Sophie Levenson is a Trinity first-year and sports features editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.