Duke Basketball Product Delights NBA Teammates With Football Shot

Former Duke basketball one-and-done Dariq Whitehead seems at home with the Nets.
Duke basketball players Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively II
Duke basketball players Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively II / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sharpshooting wing Dariq Whitehead battled a foot injury during his lone Duke basketball campaign but averaged 8.3 points, shooting 42.9 percent from downtown, across 28 appearances for the 2022-23 Blue Devils. And the New Jersey native, a former McDonald's All-American out of Montverde Academy (Fla.), went No. 22 overall to the Brooklyn Nets at the 2023 NBA Draft.

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After recovering from offseason foot surgery, Whitehead played a few games in the G League before seeing his first NBA action. But he logged only two appearances, tallying three points, four rebounds, and three assists across his combined 24 minutes before the Nets shut him down for the season in late January due to a stress reaction in his left shin that required surgery.

Now, it looks as though the 6-foot-7, 220-pound high-octane athlete is in good spirits around his Nets teammates as he approaches full strength in his recovery.

In their practice facility this week, Whitehead — still a few months from turning 20 years old — appeared to outshine those teammates in their on-court quarterback battle, as the franchise's official social media accounts suggested via the following post:

As one can see, he swished a couple of tosses with the pigskin from the other end of the floor.

It may in fact be in his DNA, as the Nets noted in their post. After all, one of Whitehead's older brothers is retired 10-year NFL linebacker Tahir Whitehead.

Dariq Whitehead is the only Duke basketball talent in Brooklyn. However, he's not the team's only player from Tobacco Road, as the Nets boast two UNC basketball products in Cameron Johnson and Day'Ron Sharpe, plus former NC State one-and-done Dennis Smith Jr.

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Stay tuned to Blue Devil Country on SI for more Duke basketball news.

Matt Giles


Matt Giles is the editor and publisher of FanNation's Blue Devil Country and All Tar Heels, covering the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels on SI.com.