In the age of one-and-done, Duke fans have become used to players cycling in and out each year. Of the Blue Devils' 2022-23 roster, however, an important piece of the puzzle has bucked the trend.
Freshman guard Tyrese Proctor will return for his sophomore season, he told ESPN's Jonathan Givony and and Adrian Wojnarowski Monday morning, maintaining a key piece of Duke's rotation and perhaps its most talented playmaker. This comes after Proctor helped lead the Blue Devils to an ACC tournament triumph and the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they were knocked out by No. 4-seed Tennessee.
"This is the best decision for my career, both present and future," Proctor told ESPN. "Coach [Jon] Scheyer and I share the same vision; we have unfinished business. We have the best staff in the country, and they will push me each and every day."
Since his reclassification to join the Blue Devils a year ahead of schedule, Proctor slotted right into head coach Jon Scheyer's preferred lineup, using his smooth shooting stroke and eye for a pass throughout the year. The Sydney native started all but two games in 2022-23 and steadily grew into one of the country's premier playmakers and one of Duke's top offensive threats by season's end, finishing with an average of 9.4 points and 3.3 assists per game, ranking third and first on the team, respectively.
Despite a turbulent first few games, the Aussie picked up steam to kickstart 2023, rattling off four consecutive double-digit scoring games in January and six consecutive during Duke's 10-game winning streak before its eventual loss to the Volunteers in Orlando, Fla. The most notable improvement was in his 3-point shooting and composure down the stretch, which helped the Blue Devils to crucial wins against North Carolina, Miami and N.C. State.
Proctor's return is a huge boon to Duke in 2023-24, especially considering the backcourt talent already en route to Durham this summer. His motor, confidence from deep and penchant for a pass will be invaluable assets to Scheyer in year two as he hopes to build on an up-and-down first season.
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Andrew Long is a Trinity sophomore and sports editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.