How Jon Scheyer put Duke basketball in position to win 2025 national championship | Baxley

Duke basketball coach Jon Scheyer has put the Blue Devils in position to end a decade-long drought.

With a string of offseason moves that saw seven players from the 2023-24 roster enter the transfer portal and three join the 2024-25 roster via the portal, Scheyer made the necessary changes to give the Blue Devils their best chance to win a national championship since he took over the program.

Nine players out, nine players in. Jeremy Roach and Jaylen Blakes, the final ties to Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, are gone. It’s officially Scheyer’s program.

Losing Roach stings but, overall, Scheyer traded inexperience for experience as several seldom-used bench players entered the portal and paved the path for three veteran transfers to join the Blue Devils.

The train of talented freshmen continues to roll into Durham with the arrival of Cooper Flagg and five other high-profile recruits; Scheyer isn't slowing down in that regard. But the Blue Devils needed to add more experience, competitiveness, toughness and leadership ahead of next season.

Those winning traits, which can be the difference between an early exit in the NCAA Tournament or celebrating as confetti falls in April, were questioned at times last season as Duke dealt with injuries and inconsistency.

Still, the Devils produced 27 wins and advanced to the Elite Eight. But Final Fours and national championships are the standard in Durham.

During Duke’s last national title run in 2015, the Blue Devils had three veterans — Quinn Cook, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones — aiding an incredibly talented group of freshmen, headlined by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor.

It appears Scheyer is opting for a similar approach with the 2024-25 squad.

As he discussed the additions of Syracuse transfer Maliq Brown, Purdue transfer Mason Gillis and Tulane transfer Sion James, Scheyer stuck with a pair of buzzwords: competitiveness and toughness.

Scheyer described Brown as a “skilled, tough and versatile forward who brings a competitive mentality to every game and practice."

Scheyer said Gillis, Purdue’s top bench player during its run to the 2024 national championship game, “brings an incredible competitiveness and toughness to our program, and his leadership will have a big impact on our team."

James, Scheyer added, “is not just about adding talent, it's about adding to a culture of competitiveness and winning attitude.”

Each of those three players also help Duke tangibly with the shooting, defense and versatility needed to balance out the roster.

Throw in the return of guards Tyrese Proctor and Caleb Foster, along with the arrival of Flagg and the freshmen, and Duke has everything it needs to end its drought and win a national championship.

Scheyer's moves this spring position the Devils for a possible celebration next spring.

Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at or @RoddBaxley on X/Twitter.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Duke basketball: Jon Scheyer's moves increase title chances | Baxley