Tyrese Proctor helps Duke to 7-0 win streak on the cusp of March Madness
The Duke Blue Devils are charging towards the NCAA tournament, and Tyrese Proctor is enjoying the ride.
Duke University is home to one of America’s most storied college basketball programs. With six NCAA titles in the last 32 years, anything else than a deep playoff run is almost considered a disappointment. The 2022-23 season however has marked a transition phase for the Blue Devils, who welcomed a new head coach in Jon Scheyer, to follow in the footsteps of longtime mentor Mike Krzyzewski (“Coach K”). Duke lost nearly 50 years worth of coaching experience when Coach K retired, but as discussed earlier in the season, this didn’t deter Tyrese Proctor from committing, as he welcomed the challenge of high expectations in a new era.
The Blue Devils endured an up and down regular season, limping towards a 17-8 record while the ACC Tournament was fast approaching. While such a record would be worth celebrating for most teams, it’s certainly below par for a powerhouse program like Duke. Nevertheless, the team has recently enjoyed a turnaround in their fortunes, manifesting as a 7-0 win streak at the right time of year. Duke entered the 2023 ACC tournament only as the fourth seed, behind Miami, Virginia and Clemson. It’s an unfamiliar position for such a storied college, ranked at 21st overall in the country by ESPN, but never count out a team that’s peaking when it counts.
Proctor’s individual performance has almost mirrored Duke’s fortunes throughout the season.
He entered the 2022-23 NCAA campaign as a potential one and done prospect, after dominating the Australian junior scene with New South Wales, but college basketball proved to be a learning curve. Until late February his season shooting percentage from three-point range was below 30%, and his field goal percentage has been below 40% since day one. Currently the talented point guard is making 30.2% of his treys, on 4.1 attempts per game, while shooting 37.2% from the field, but his more recent numbers paint a more favourable picture.
In January, Proctor averaged 10.9 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 39% from the field and 37% from downtown. Duke added three more to their loss column that month, but also notched a memorable victory over ranked opponent Miami. Proctor’s playing time was up and down earlier in the season, but throughout January he ingrained himself as a regular big-minute fixture in the starting lineup. He was especially impressive in a win over the Pittsburgh Panthers, logging 14 points and five assists against a team that very nearly beat Miami to the ACC regular season title.
By now it’s no secret that Proctor is a cavalier shotmaker who routinely makes the highlight reel with tough contested shots.
His handle allows him to create separation on the perimeter and pull up for a three, but the shifty guard is equally capable of driving to the rack. Proctor deploys a variety of behind the back moves, crossovers and hesitations to find a driving lane even when he is tightly marked on the perimeter.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Pick and Roll to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.