Another Duke basketball starter makes decision on future. Where the Blue Devils stand
A second starting player who helped Duke win this season’s ACC championship is staying in school for another year.
Mark Mitchell, the 6-8 forward who started all but one game during his freshman season for the Blue Devils, announced Thursday his plans to play with Duke as a sophomore.
Mitchell joins fellow freshman Tyrese Proctor in making the choice to stay to play college basketball as a sophomore.
Together, they helped Duke go 27-9 and win the ACC championship as freshmen. They’ve both spoken to the team’s larger plans for next season.
“When I step on the court, the only thing on my mind is winning,” Mitchell said in a video posted on social media. “I’m starving for it. You can’t make it here if you don’t want it. Year one. ACC champs. We hung a banner. We’ve got something bigger in mind. The job’s not finished. I’m coming back for it all. Year two, let’s run it back.”
Let’s run it back pic.twitter.com/g3X4cu3Ls3
— Mark Mitchell (@Mark_mitchell25) March 30, 2023
Mitchell started Duke’s first 35 games before missing the Blue Devils’ 65-52 NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Tennessee after tweaking his knee in practice. He averaged 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while hitting 46.9% of his shots from the field.
His defensive versatility allowed him to guard players all over the court, both in the lane and on the perimeter.
After winning the ACC championship in Jon Scheyer’s first year as head coach, Duke is set up for more success next season with Proctor and Mitchell returning. The Blue Devils’ five-man recruiting class, rated No. 2 in the nation by various recruiting services, includes 6-5 guard Caleb Foster, 6-2 guard Jared McCain and 6-8 forwards Sean Stewart, Mackenzie Mgbako and T.J. Power.
McCain won the 3-point shooting contest and Stewart the dunk contest at the McDonald’s All-American Game this week in Atlanta.
Duke is expected to have another veteran player on next year’s roster, as 6-10 graduate student center Ryan Young, a part-time starter this season, said he plans to use his final season of eligibility with the Blue Devils in 2023-24.
Duke freshman forward Dariq Whitehead declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday. Dereck Lively II, a 7-1 freshman center, is expected to do the same in early April. Both players are projected as first-round picks in this summer’s NBA Draft.
Two other Duke players are still mulling what their futures will be.
Kyle Filipowski, the 7-foot freshman center who led Duke in scoring (15.9 points) and rebounding (8.9), and junior guard Jeremy Roach, who averaged 13.6 points and 3.1 assists per game, have yet to make their decisions about turning professional.
Among Duke’s deeper reserves, 6-2 sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes, 6-5 freshman guard Jaden Schutt and 7-1 freshman center Christian Reeves all have eligibility for next season and beyond.
The Blue Devils staff is looking at adding another veteran big man through the transfer portal.