Jeremy Roach evolving into classic Duke chief is altering the outlook on Jon Scheyer’s debut season
NEW YORK — The younger coach was joyfully shocked by the scene that unfolded in entrance of him. Throughout a timeout Tuesday night time, junior level guard Jeremy Roach took management of the Duke huddle and challenged considered one of his teammates. Freshman ahead Mark Mitchell was on the receiving finish of some forceful recommendation from Roach.
It was the primary time Roach had ever carried out such a factor in that setting, Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer informed CBS Sports activities. A small motion that is a better reflection on Duke in its first season below the 35-year-old Scheyer.
“It is the most effective factor ever, the place it isn’t coming from me, it is coming from him, and impulsively Mark drives and he is dunking on guys,” Scheyer informed CBS Sports activities. “To see him (Roach) not simply really feel it in that second, however Mark respecting Jeremy that a lot the place then Mark goes up and follows up on what Jeremy informed him to do, that is a fairly cool factor that you simply simply cannot at all times have. You both have it or you do not — and we do.”
Roach is the unquestioned chief of a Blue Devils band bedecked with six freshmen and sophomore within the rotation, making them the youngest core group on the high-major stage. On Tuesday night time on the Jimmy V Basic, the Fifteenth-ranked Devils casually cruised to a 74-62 win over Iowa. Within the course of, Duke held one of the commanding offenses within the nation — Iowa entered the night time ranked third in effectivity at KenPom — to a season low in factors.
The protection confirmed up once more, because it has most nights. Tuesday was about Roach.
Again to that timeout.
Roach was encouraging Mitchell to be extra assertive, to assault Iowa’s weak inside protection. Quickly thereafter, Mitchell did — to nice outcomes. Roach’s phrases proved to be the important thing that unlocked Mitchell’s second-best recreation of his season. He had 17 factors, all of them coming close to the rim or through the foul line. Roach noticed the alternatives and spoke them into motion. The conduct of a frontrunner.
As the one main issue again from final season’s Ultimate 4 workforce, Roach is rising right into a classic Duke captain.
“He retains us collectively,” Mitchell mentioned. “A number of us, you realize, it is our first time taking part in within the Backyard, he is performed all these big-time occasions, so he retains us collectively. He retains us as one, and that is what a captain does.”
Roach tied his profession excessive with 22 factors. The Hawkeyes had some intervals the place they lingered, however Duke by no means felt threatened. Roach sank all three of his 3-point makes an attempt, making this the seventh time in his profession he is hit no less than three 3s. Duke is 7-0 in these video games.
“Jeremy was actually accountable for our workforce from starting to finish,” Scheyer mentioned.
Duke is 9-2 and figures to be 10-2 after its closing nonconference recreation on the slate: Saturday at house towards Maryland Japanese Shore. It is a passable opening third of Scheyer’s inaugural go of it. With Roach as head of the snake, it is honest to start out speculating if he is on his strategy to being one of many sport’s finest level guards. If that’s the case, that modifications Duke’s trajectory and makes this workforce a Ultimate 4 contender once more. Scheyer is aware of quite a bit about these form of seasons, having been top-of-the-line gamers in Duke historical past and a former All-American himself who steered Duke’s 2010 title-winning season.
“He has a relaxing affect. He is coping with 4 freshmen, that is a hell of a factor to do,” Scheyer mentioned. “I’ve little question that he can attain that stage and be an All-American and be there as top-of-the-line guards within the nation.”
The numbers by way of 11 video games do not mirror Roach’s general affect. He is averaging 13.4 factors, 3.5 assists and a couple of.4 rebounds. That is … good. His capturing nonetheless wants enchancment, although. He is at 38.9%. By the numbers, Kyle Filipowski has been Duke’s finest participant. However in that locker room, Roach is the man. He is an important participant on this workforce, and that most likely will not change.
In the event you’ve watched Duke play since early November, Roach’s regular hand is why this workforce has two losses as an alternative of three, 4 or 5. He is blossoming into a man who might contend for All-America standing, which wasn’t the idea within the preseason. Take into account: Duke managed to rebound nicely after the shellacking it took on the PK85 within the title recreation vs. Purdue on Nov. 27. Since then, Duke’s gained three straight, together with a cushty win over Ohio State.
Roach’s play was so infectious, Trevor Keels could not assist however thumb out the tweet under — after sitting entrance row at MSG. Keels, who simply might have been taking part in alongside Roach on Tuesday night time if not for leaving after his freshman season in April, sat alongside one other former Duke teammate, Mark Williams.
Each are presently paying their dues on the G League stage.
With Keels and virtually everybody from that 32-7 workforce gone, a lot accountability falls on Roach. He is dealing with it gracefully. It is quite a bit to ask of a participant within the first season after Mike Krzyzewski is not on the sideline, however Roach was prepared for the duty.
“He is at his finest within the greatest video games,” Scheyer mentioned. “He isn’t afraid. He is a man who’s scoring and placing up numbers, however his affect on successful, his defending, his playmaking. He solely had three assists, however made some very nice performs.”
With the non-con portion mainly carried out, a scan of Duke reveals that the workforce is elite at offensive rebounding, is keen and wanting on protection, however has initiatives and issues to determine on offense. Dereck Energetic II, Dariq Whitehead and Tyrese Proctor have not had their moments but; I think these are coming in January and February. When Scheyer discovered he was getting the Duke job, the 2 longstanding on-court principals of Duke basketball that meant essentially the most to him have been workforce protection and shifting the ball on O. Roach is a giant cause each of these issues are options of this workforce.
In a season the place Duke had extra questions than in most others in latest reminiscence, nothing was to be assumed or given. That also applies in lots of sides with this group, apart from one factor: If Roach goes to be as dependable going ahead as he is been by way of the primary 5 weeks of the season, then Duke in Yr 1 below Scheyer won’t be a disappointment.