Duke and Scheyer eyeing final roster addition for upcoming season

Duke Basketball and head coach John Scheyer continue to look for the final piece of the 2022-23 roster, with a potential match set to visit Durham very soon.

Jacob Grandisonthe 6-foot-6, 210 pound wing player who played a combined four years at Holy Cross and then Illinois, will make a visit to Durham this week according to TheDevilsDen.com’s Adam Rowe.

The trip to Durham will be part of a whirlwind series of visits that have taken the graduate transfer across the country as he considers a list of potential destinations including UCLA, USC, BYU, DePaul, Arizona, Iowa State, Michigan, Kentucky, and Oregon in addition to the Blue Devils.

Once he determines the next step of his college basketball career, Grandison will begin his sixth year as a collegiate athlete. He began at Holy Cross where he averaged 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game before transferring to Illinois where he redshirted in Year One with the Illini.

The 2020-21 season saw Grandison make his Illinois debut, starting 16 of the team’s final 17 games and averaging 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds over that final stretch. For the season he averaged 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds for a team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Grandison’s numbers improved during this past season when he upped his scoring average to 9.6 points per contest while adding 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.0 minutes per game. He made 23 starts in 30 games and shot 41 percent from three point range.

Grandison’s senior season at Illinois was limited at the end due to a shoulder injury against Penn State on March 3rd which forced him to miss the team’s next two games and limited his availability during the NCAA Tournament. His best game of the year cam in February when he erupted for a career best 24 points and six three pointers in a win at then No. 19 Michigan State.

Following the conclusion of the season Grandison declared for the 2022 NBA Draft, but he withdrew his name on May 29 and entered the NCAA transfer portal two days later. Because he is a graduate transfer, he is immediately eligible to play next season.

The potential fit in Durham is obvious. The Blue Devils watched as six of the top seven members of last year’s Final Four rotation departed the program following the season, the most recent confirmation being that of Trevor Keels who waited until the final moments before electing to remain in the NBA Draft.

With Keels departing the only returning player with any major experience is junior point guard Jeremy Roach who will join the nation’s top rated recruiting class led by frontcourt players Dereck Lively, Kyle Filipowski, and Mark Mitchell. Those three five star players join five star backcourt prospects Tirese Proctor and Dariq Whitehead along with four star shooting guard Jayden Schutt.

Lively, Filipowski, Roach, and Whitehead are all virtual locks to start and Proctor could also factor in as the fifth starter given his combo guard skills. However, the Australian prospect has recently reclassified up and could take some time to adjust to the more physical opponents and higher levels of play at the collegiate level. Schutt is also a player who is expected t contribute following an adjustment period due to his shooting ability.

Grandison has played as a small ball power forward at times at Illinois but has the versatility to factor in at several positions on the court. At Duke he would almost assuredly be competing with Proctor for the fifth starting slot. Should he win the position he would play a role similar to Nate James in 2001, a veteran wing tasked with defending wings and occasionally smaller front courts while maintaining his level three point rate. It’s worth noting that Grandison shot better than 50 percent from the perimeter on corner attempts this past season including a .632 clip from the right corner. In such a scenario, Duke would likely slide Dariq Whitehead to the starting shooting guard position alongside Roach.

However, Proctor should win the head to head competition, Grandison would likely fit as the team’s sixth man – often considered a sixth starter as we saw this past season with A.J. Griffin, Trevor Keels, and Roach alternating for the final spot in the lineup. In such a scenario, Whitehead would slide to the small forward position while Proctor and Roach would form a two point guard backcourt.