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I've Got Five On It: Five players that will define Duke's transition

Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero (

The final chapter of the Mike Krzyzewski Era of Duke basketball is set to get under way in less than 70 days, and the storyline will help define the 2021-22 season. Following the season, Krzyzewski’s farewell tour will give way to Jon Scheyer’s debut as the Blue Devils’ new head coach.

So today in "I Got Five On It", we take a peek at five players that will define the transition at one of the sport’s most important programs.


Commitment breakdown: Malik Reneau chooses Florida

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150



WHY HE’S IMPORTANT: Banchero is unlikely to ever play a single minute under Scheyer as a head coach, but that doesn’t make him any less crucial to the upcoming transition. The former five-star prospect’s development and draft position will be important to selling the program’s new era.

As Banchero goes, so too will Duke’s season, and the difference between a first-year head coach selling a bounce-back year that included a lottery pick is a far cry from a first-year coach being forced to spin a second consecutive disappointing season. Taking over a program that appears to be trending downward is a tall task. Inheriting a blueblood with momentum won’t lend itself to such problems.

Banchero is the Blue Devils’ transitional recruit and his success is likely correlated with that of the entire program. No pressure, though.


WHY HE’S IMPORTANT: The No. 5 overall prospect in the 2022 class, Filipowski leads the first class of the post-Krzyzewski Era. Recruiting is an industry based on perception with little regard for sample size or nuance.

New head coaches in situations that are perceived to be “cushy” or self-sustaining are often subject to harsher year-one criticism, and Filipowski will be one of the most influential figures when it comes to shaping Scheyer’s first impression.

Scheyer’s first class will have less wiggle room when it comes to inconsistency because all eyes will be on the transition.


WHY HE’S IMPORTANT: A local-born prospect, Foster could end up representing Scheyer’s first true high-profile battle with North Carolina. Foster won’t sign a letter of intent until Scheyer has started coaching games in the big chair, but his verbal commitment could come before.

As of now, the five-star guard is seen as a slight Blue Devils lead. A class-of-2023 prospect, Foster grew up a Duke fan, but fandom can only take a program so far. There’s a long way to go in Foster’s recruitment, but losing Foster to North Carolina or anyone else for that matter would be a bad look for a proud program attempting to inspire faith in its long-term future under new leadership.


WHY HE’S IMPORTANT: Lively isn’t a must-land recruit for Duke, as Filipowski is already in the fold and Kentucky may well be the leader for Lively. That said, the Blue Devils are a serious player and landing a surefire pro like Lively would give Year One of the Scheyer Era another massive boost.

Landing Lively would be the cherry on top of an already impressive class. Should it happen, the start of the new era in Durham would be fired off the starting line with a cannon. Is it a long shot? Possibly, but the best case scenario has to be entertained.


WHY HE’S IMPORTANT: A Duke commit in the class of 2022, Whitehead’s role in the transition isn’t much different than Filipowski’s. That said, as a versatile and dynamic scoring wing, Whitehead stands to become one of the faces of Scheyer’s first squad.

The fact that Whitehead plays his high school ball at national powerhouse Montverde Academy is at least somewhat important to a program trying to maintain inroads at one of the basketball’s most important high schools as it undergoes a regime change. Whitehead will be front and center, on court and off, as Duke opens its new chapter.