When the 2022-23 NBA season kicked off, several new Duke faces dotted rosters across the league. After a Final Four run in head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, the Blue Devil program saw five players choose to leave the program early for the professional ranks.
Four of those five players – Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, AJ Griffin and Wendell Moore received positive feedback during the pre-draft process and landed in the first round in Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta and Minnesota respectively. The fifth payer to go was shooting guard Trevor Keels who struggled with the decision-making process until the final declaration deadline before finally choosing to move on.
Keels did not receive a first-round contract and signed a two-way contract with the New York Knicks who selected him with the 42nd overall pick in the draft. Due to the structure of the contract, Keels cannot spend more than 50 games in the NBA and will earn a fixed salary equal to 50% of the minimum salary applicable to a player with zero years of service and so it was given the 6-foot -4 former five-star prospect would spend a lot of time playing in the G-League this season.
On Friday night, he made his G-League debut and did well for the Westchester Knicks in a 119-111 loss to the Maine Celtics. In the losing effort, Keels scored a team-high 25 points on 11 of 24 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Perhaps Keels’ only concern was his perimeter shot which was off in Game 1 when he only made one of eight attempts from long range.
In another opening night game, former Blue Devil Mark Williams, a Charlotte Hornets lottery pick who was assigned to the G-League for a bigger role than he saw with the senior club , played 28 minutes and recorded 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Greensboro Swarm defeated Delaware 128-108.
Former Duke star Matthew Hurt is also playing in the G-League this season, adapting to the Memphis Hustle where he came off the bench to score 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-6 from outside to go with six rebounds in 27 minutes as the Hustle won their first game of the year by 18.
In Austin, Texas, former Duke guard Jordan Goldwire plays for the Austin Spurts and came off the bench as a point guard for the club to post eight points and five assists in 26 minutes against the Texas Legends. .
Other former Blue Devils competing in the G-League this season include Marquee Bolden (Salt Lake City Stars), Vernon Carey (Capital City Go-Go), Trevon Duval (Grand Rapids Gold), Theo John (Capital City Go -Go), Wendell Moore, Jr. (Iowa Wolves), Jahlil Okafor (Mexico City Capitanes), Cassius Stanley (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) and DJ Steward (Stockton Kings).