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(be forewarned this was completely stream of consciousness and not proofread – it’s nearly 11pm!!)

The Blue Devils season ends with an Elite 8 loss to NC State, while it’s not the ending Blue Devils fans were hoping for, 63 teams experience heartbreak in this tournament. NC State ends Dukes run with a 76-64 victory and a trip to Phoenix for the Wolfpack.

For the Blue Devils some of the same demons that plagued them in the last NC State game reared their ugly heads. The Blue Devil guards once again had tough nights on both ends of the floor – honestly the entire Duke offense was inept for the better part of the 40 minute game. Dukes first half defense is what secured them a first half lead of 6 – but the writing was on the wall. The Blue Devils never gained any traction offensively missing shots they’d made in previous rounds and shooting a paltry 32% from the field and 25% from the 3-point line. The issue wasn’t State playing amazing defense but Duke’s inability to hit shots. These types of games happen, just not usually to an entire team. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor in what may be his final game as a Blue Devils pitched an 0-for. The Aussie had a nightmare game going 0-9 from the floor in arguably the biggest game of the season for Duke. The front-court for the Blue Devils wasn’t much better with sophomores Kyle Filipowski and Mark Mitchell combining to go just 5 of 15. In the end Duke had a choice as to whether they would let DJ Burns beat them and choke off the NC State guards or double Burns and live with the result. The Blue Devils were burned by both with Burns scoring a game high 29 points and DJ Horne scoring 20.

The Season That Was

The Blue Devils were never able to be as consistent as the staff would have liked – that’s the reality of the situation. Were there mitigating factors at play? Certainly. 2 of your top returnees in Mitchell and Filipowski not being able to get the off-season work they needed due to injury and Tyrese Proctor, while he shot better this season, never made the jump he was probably expecting. It’s something for fans to think about when assessing this team and writing about this chapter in Duke Basketball lore. Duke wanted to augment the roster during the summer but things didn’t work out as they wanted. Duke looked for several transfer options that didn’t work out due to leaky information and admissions. Duke had its ups, its downs and opportunities but there is a lot to glean from this run regardless of the result. The program isn’t dead in fact it’s still elite, yes I said it. lol.

1. Duke is in good hands with Jon Scheyer
2. Regardless of what some so-called fans may think this season was a step in the right direction, even with how it ended.

Jon Scheyer

For the second season in a row a 36 year old coach in only his second season as a head coach managed to win 27 games while only losing 9 both years with relatively young teams. Once fans look beyond their own emotions they will obviously see that there isn’t a coach in the country that has done that in their first 2 years. Some will say it’s not enough and Jon Scheyer himself may say the exact same thing but that’s because there isn’t a coach in America who wants to win as much as he does. He has an Elite 8 trip as well as an ACC Tournament championship on his resume in just 2 years at the helm at Duke and he’s making a name for himself – on his own merit.

What Next

Duke will have a huge roster turnover after this season, that was always the expectation. With a class of 6 coming into Durham it will be time to figure out who stays and who goes. The one person who has exhausted his eligibility is Ryan Young. Young gave the Blue Devils all it could and had a good run in his 2 seasons in Durham. Some chose to see simply his shortcomings and not what he added to this roster in terms of leadership – not every thing can be seen on the court and to a man, Duke’s squad give Young a lot of credit for that leadership. The expectation has always been that Kyle Filipowski would depart after this sophomore season and I have no indication that anything has changed there. I fully expect him to declare for the NBA draft in the coming days.

After Filipowski the questions really begin. Jeremy Roach having made his second trip to the Elite 8 could very well take his degree and depart from the Blue Devils or he could take his COVID year and return. I would be surprised if Roach is back in Durham but that’s simply my guess. One never knows. 2 other players that were expected to depart but now, with how things ended, things could change are Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell. Neither had impressive seasons this year, well not compared to expectation. It’s hard to say how Proctor feels with heartache of his last game and it being the worst game of his career – could it sway his decision? Quite possibly. Mitchell is another one who did not have the season he expected. His shooting was atrocious at the beginning of the season and he turned it on during the ACC season. He was never the physical presence that Duke needed at the 4 but not the shooter they would have needed at the 3. Extra years for both Mitchell and Proctor would be good for Duke but also good for them individually – both need to get tougher, stronger and more consistent but also, as noted by some on twitter – they didn’t have to come back and I’d be genuinely shocked if either of them did. The other question mark is Jared McCain, who I fully expect to also declare for the NBA Draft. McCain has shown what he needs and impressed with his shooting but also his hustle. Most likely a shoe-in for a first round pick it would be surprising to see him back in Durham next season.

The next question becomes, in this age of the transfer portal can Duke maintain some semblance of their youth. Caleb Foster, TJ Power and Sean Stewart are part of a freshman class that Duke would love to hold on to. Foster unfortunately didn’t get the chance to play in March for the Blue Devils but with Roach and Proctor possibly leaving – Foster would most likely inherit the starting point guard role but no matter what team you are on, opposing staffs are contacting you and offering and backchannel negotiations are now commonplace. It’s impossible, until the season truly begins or a player makes a public statement for anyone to be sure of who will stay or leave via the portal. TJ Power simply wasn’t ready to contribute his freshman season – leaving doesn’t change that fact. If Power sees himself as a guy that can get time at Duke next season then I would expect him to return but it’s hard for coaches to mend those fences in the short window between seasons end and the decisions these kids have to make. Sean Stewart showed flashes of what he could be as a sophomore and beyond this season and worked himself into more playing time as the season progressed – was it enough from him to remain in Durham and play with his high school buddy Cooper Flagg? Another big question.

Those are the most important decisions for Duke but there are still others including Jaden Schuss and Christian Reeves who both medically red-shirted this season so maintain that year of eligibility – what happens next is up in the air until it isn’t.


As a fan, it’s very easy to allow emotions to take over and social media is a prime example of “fans” spewing drivel at or directed to players, coaches and staff. All I feel, aside from disappointment, is sympathy for a team that regardless of what you think, gave it what they could give it. What fans should feel, and yes, I’m saying what fans should feel. Gratitude. Gratitude because these players don’t owe fans anything. They repped the university and take all of the nonsense and hate from people that have zero skin in the game. It’s an every season thing but social media has amplified it and made it 100% worse.

Ok gotta go to bed now… #GODUKE