Tyrese Proctor decided late this summer that he was going to forego his senior year at the NBA Global Academy and reclassify up to join Duke this Fall. Then came the hurried VISA application, then playing in FIBA with the Australian National Team, then the cross-globe flight. Since August, he’s been integrated in to an ever-changing roster due to injuries and then became the starting two-guard for Duke Basketball. All in a few months.
His first two games on the college level didn’t match up with reports out of practice this preseason that saw him as one of the most dynamic playmakers on the court for the Blue Devils. But after he caught a rhythm in the early part of the second half against Kansas, it seems like those were just learning experiences for him. Last night, he led all Duke players at the half in scoring (9), rebounding (7), and assists (3) as he played 17 minutes out of 20. He finished the game with his first career double-double, notching career highs in scoring (13) and rebounds (10).
“Yeah, it felt great. Just trying to do the little things. We were only up six, I think, at the half so [we] had to come in [the] second half and just really make an emphasis on my defense. I think we did that as a group and that led to my double-double.”
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The team had 18 assists on 34 made shots last night, and despite finishing the game playing just 28 minutes, Proctor was tied for the team lead with four. He told the media after the game that was key for the team’s success in the second half after the margin narrowed late in the first half.
“I think we shared the ball a lot better than we did in the first half. I think we shared it early in the first and then it [the ball] started to stick a little bit late in the first. We just came out, everyone had confidence and believed in each other and just kept moving the ball.”
At 6’5″, Proctor is big for a shooting guard on the college level but he plays on one of the tallest rosters in all of the NCAA (according to KenPom.com Duke is 14th in average height). Still, he led the team in boards and attributed a lot of it to his frontcourt making things easy for him.
“It was great. My big men were boxing out, I’m just getting their scraps. They’ve been great all year and it’s going to be a huge thing for us moving forward.”