Jon Scheyer sought to imprint his own vision on the Duke program as the new head coach in his first year. His objective was to continue recruiting top-tier players with NBA talent, even if they stay for a single season, while targeting prospects for depth and specialty skills. The new head coach has successfully realized this goal.
He retained three highly regarded freshmen from a 27-win ACC Championship team. Tyrese Proctor, Mark Michell, and Kyle Filipowski. Filipowski was the ACC Freshman of the Year and the ACC Tournament MVP. This level of performance from elite recruits in Durham is commonplace. Remarkably, they made the decision to return for a second year shortly after the season’s conclusion.
Photo Cred: Duke
Last summer, multiple reports emerged from practice and summer workouts highlighting Filipowski’s struggles to adapting to the college game. He still started all 36 games and endured the physical demands of playing in the paint. The PF/C finished the season with 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories. He recorded 16 double-doubles, ranking first among all Division I freshmen.
“It wasn’t really an option to get surgery last year, just because I would have been out for most of the season. So you know, I just had to manage every day with it and play through it and stuff like that. There were struggles along the way, for sure, and times that were hard, no question about it. But I was able to get through it and get to where I am now.” Filipowski said.
Photo Cred: SI
These impressive statistics secured his team a conference championship. Furthermore, his performance improved during the postseason, with his scoring output rising to 19.6 points per game. This surge included noteworthy 20-point performances against Pitt and Miami, with double-doubles against Miami and Virginia.