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Jon Scheyer is working to manage the challenges of the transfer portal this offseason to strengthen the Duke basketball roster more effectively than he did last year.


After losing Dereck Lively II, the Blue Devils were left with a significant gap at center, and Scheyer couldn’t find a top-performing replacement through the transfer portal. This led to the Duke frontcourt playing out of position throughout the season, contributing to the team’s failure to meet some of its preseason goals.

Now, a year after completely ignoring the portal, Scheyer will be looking to fill out his roster with transfers after seven players decided to leave Duke and enter the portal after its Elite 8 loss to NC State.

So far, the Blue Devils have brought in Maliq Brown from Syracuse and Mason Gillis from Purdue. While neither is the most high-profile addition from the transfer portal, both players address specific needs for Duke.

Scheyer’s team needs to build toughness and physicality, as well as add players who don’t require a lot of touches or shot attempts to make an impact. These new recruits fit that description, helping the Blue Devils strengthen their roster for the upcoming season.

Duke has plenty of players on its roster that will be taking the bulk of the shots, like returning guards Tyrese Proctor and Caleb Foster as well as incoming freshman Cooper Flagg. It leaves Jon Scheyer with the task of not trying to find the most talented players in the portal, but those who are the best fit for the current roster in Durham.


The Blue Devils have three open scholarships for next season remaining and appear to be in a good place to land Tulane transfer Sion James, which would fill an area of need.

James, a 6-foot-6 guard, would play a backup role to Proctor and Foster with the ability to score the basketball as well as being a distributor, averaging 14.0 points per game last season on 38.1-percent shooting from 3-point range and a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Duke, specifically Jon Scheyer, will have the most pressure on his shoulders entering his third season as the Blue Devil head coach with the addition of Cooper Flagg, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.


A lot of eyes from both the NBA community and college basketball world will be locked on Durham with every game played and Flagg’s presence immediately brings championship aspirations.

It’s an unenviable spot that Jon Scheyer and his coaching staff are in, not necessarily looking for the best transfers but the right transfers.


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