Even with two 7-footers in the starting lineup, no Duke basketball player has more boards across the past two games than rookie combo guard Tyrese Proctor.
The 6-foot-5, 175-pound Aussie grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in the Blue Devils' 92-58 home victory over Delaware on Friday night. Three nights later, he tied first-year Duke basketball power forward Kyle Filipowski for the most with eight as the squad notched a 74-57 win against visiting Bellarmine.
It appears as though Proctor's prowess on the glass has caught at least one member of the Blue Devil staff by surprise.
"I [initially] thought he was a pretty boy who shot jumpers and drove to the hole and made really slick passes," Duke basketball associate head coach Chris Carrawell candidly said in his Zoom call with the media on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of Thursday's 3 p.m. ET bout against Oregon State at the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland, Ore.
What is Proctor's secret?
"He has a nose for the ball," Carrawell explained. "I tell our perimeter guys, especially the wings, if you want to get your hands on the ball, go get a defensive board. Go rebound the ball."
Proctor, now averaging 6.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists through the No. 8 Blue Devils' 4-1 start, attributed his recent rebounding performances to his hunger for fastbreaks.
"I'm just trying to get the ball and push it early," the 18-year-old former five-star recruit told Blue Devil Country in the locker room following the win over Bellarmine. "The more I crash, the more I can get it and push it, the more I can get those transition points."
No, Tyrese Proctor didn't score any easy transition points last go-round. His nine field goal attempts came from downtown, where he finished 2-for-9, bringing his season 3-point percentage to 19.0 and field goal percentage to 27.5 — far from ideal for a starting guard.
But if Proctor keeps up his effort on the boards, chances are he'll eventually start delivering breakaway buckets and dimes far more frequently.
"To me, it helps your offense," Carrawell added about Tyrese Proctor's potential to boost his field goal percentage and assists. "People think you need to hit a shot to get into your rhythm. I think you can get into your rhythm by getting a defensive rebound and pushing it up the court, whether you make a play for yourself or your teammate. Ty's been incredible at that end. For a guard to have 10 rebounds in a game, that's impressive."
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