Trevor Kells ‘ripped’ between the Basketball Duke and the NBA Draft

Duke's assistant coach John Scheer speaks with Trevor Keels (1) during the first half of Duke's game against Wake Forest at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.

Duke’s assistant coach John Scheer speaks with Trevor Keels (1) during the first half of Duke’s game against Wake Forest at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.

ehyman@newsobserver.com

Trevor Keeles kept Duke fans and coaches waiting until the final hours on June 1 as he decided whether to play for the Blues next season or go professional.

Duke’s coaches knew the anxiety the new 6-4 guard felt after helping Duke win the ACC regular season championship and reach the fourth final.

“Really ripped off,” Duke’s assistant technical director Chris Carwell said Friday during a virtual press conference with reporters. “It was torn, man.”

About two hours before the June 1 11:59 p.m. deadline for players to withdraw from the draft and remain eligible for college basketball, Keels announced his decision to head to the NBA. With the draft set on June 23, it is expected that Late in the first round pick Drafts by some analysts and a second manager by others.

Once Keels entered his name in the draft, Duke coach John Scheer said he should be “all in” the process until he made his final decision. Meanwhile, Carwell said, while supporting Keels in his ultimate dream of playing the NBA, Duke would definitely love to see him come back.

They stay in regular contact with Keels. Rookie Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach, Keels’s high school classmate in Virginia and at Duke, said around 4 p.m. on June 1 that he still believed there was a chance Keels would stay with him and the Blue Devils.

“All the way to the end he was torn,” Carwell said. “He was really ripped. Because Trev is 18. You can go back to be one of the best players in the country. Or, I say to all those guys, the NBA beats everything.”

At an NBA scouting gathering in Chicago during mid-May, before he made his final decision, Kells said he wasn’t thinking about Duke and was completely focused on the NBA. He also said he would speak with Scheyer before making his decision.

But he said the NBA’s lure was strong.

“I just feel that when you get a chance like this to hear your name calling, it’s just something you’ll want to hear your whole life,” said Kells. “I feel ready to be in the NBA. I feel like I’m learning a lot. But I also think, you know, Coach Shire is a great guy. And I know he’s a great coach. I know I love Duke too.”

In the end, Keels chose to leave Duke for good. TThe Blue Devils responded by adding 6-6 Illinois transfer Jacob Grandison to give them another experienced ocean player to pair with Roach. In addition, 6-4 guards Tyrese Proctor from Australia announced on June 2 He was rebranding to join Duke this year.

These moves wouldn’t have been crucial to Duke’s side if Keels decided to play another season in college basketball.

But Carwell is good at how everything turns out for everyone.

“You can’t be mad at a kid, man, who’s going to play in the NBA,” Carwell said. “Hopefully he’ll be drafted into the first round. But even if he goes to the second round, the team will guarantee him that. The potential is there, in three or Four years, you’re going to have a player whose body is in good shape, and you have a really good player when he’s 22.”

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Steve Wiseman has covered Duke Athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald Sun and Rally News & Observer. He placed second in both news writing and breaking news in the 2019 National Associated Press Sports Editors Competition. Steve has previously worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering tunes including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina Athletics and Supreme Committee General Assembly. He has won several statewide press union awards. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.

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