Cohesion could be hard to come by for the 2022-23 Duke basketball team, especially in the early going. On that note, even relatively minor disruptions to that end in the offseason are a bummer.
Jeremy Roach and Jaylen Blakes are the only two scholarship players returning from the 2021-22 roster. And of that pair, only Roach was in the regular rotation last season.
Also, if anyone forgot, this marks the first Duke season since 1980-81 with a new head coach to begin the campaign.
With so many fresh faces and new roles to blend, most Blue Devils were in town this summer to take advantage of the opportunity to practice and scrimmage together while attending classes in Durham.
However, two newcomers who figure to factor into the equation immediately — perhaps vying for the starting job at the two-spot — were either partially or entirely unable to participate with the Blue Devils.
As first-year Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer alluded to in a tweeted video from the program's official account on Saturday, grad transfer Jacob Grandison and freshman Tyrese Proctor had different reasons for missing out on the on-court action:
"We're still waiting to get our entire group back together. Jacob Grandison still is working his way back from injury. Tyrese Proctor. We need to get Tyrese here on campus. And really, we're gonna be off and running in the fall. But our guys have worked incredibly hard...We've gotten in better shape. We've gotten a feel for each other."
Scheyer then pointed to the difficult task at hand while praising the squad for improving anyway:
"There's a lot of newness. And for us, the challenge is getting to know one another in the best way possible, and we've really taken great steps at doing that...Before we know it, games will be here. So I'm proud of this group. It's been a pleasure working with them every day, but we also have a lot of work to do in the meantime."
Time to work in Duke basketball newbies Jacob Grandison and Tyrese Proctor
Jon Scheyer did not specify the nature of Jacob Grandison's injury. It's worth mentioning, though, that there are several shots in the scrimmage videos showing the 24-year-old versatile veteran — a 6-foot-6 wing who transferred from Illinois — at least standing and walking around on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Tyrese Proctor's absence has nothing to do with injury and everything to do with, in essence, his Aussie duties.
The 6-foot-5 guard, who waited until June to decide on his reclassification from the 2023 class to 2022, spent the first part of his summer as the only non-professional on the Australian senior national team at the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup. Now, he's a member of the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence squad.
Proctor's Sunday highlights below, not to mention many others before them this summer, suggest he's managed to remain a well-oiled basket weaver:
There's no reason to believe that Tyrese Proctor won't be in Durham by the time fall classes begin on Aug. 29.
Final exams for the second session of summer classes are in the books. For now, Blue Devils have spread out before they arrive back on campus in a couple of weeks.
Although preseason practice won't officially start until October, the Duke basketball players will have ample chances to hoop together, hoping to begin gelling as a 100 percent complete unit this time.
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