Duke basketball goalie Trevor Keels will stay in the NBA draft



Duke's Trevor Keels (1) celebrates hitting a three-pointer during the first half of Duke's game against Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, March 10, 2022 .

Duke’s Trevor Keels (1) celebrates hitting a three-pointer during the first half of Duke’s game against Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, March 10, 2022 .

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By the final day of the deadline, Duke guard Trevor Keels decided he had done enough in college basketball and it was time to turn pro.

Keels decided on Wednesday that he was giving up his final three seasons of eligibility and keeping his name in the NBA draft pool, Duke sources said.

Other outlets, including ESPN, also reported that Keels was quitting college basketball.

Guarding 6-4, Keels is expected to be selected at the end of the first round or the second round of the June 23 NBA draft. He joins four other former Duke teammates — 6-10 forward Paolo Banchero, 6-6 forward AJ Griffin, 7-2 center Mark Williams and 6-6 forward Wendell Moore — in the draft. Those four should all be first-round picks.

Keels’ departure leaves Duke with a returning player among the top eight players who helped last year’s team win the ACC regular season championship and reach the Final Four. Jeremy Roach, who started all five games in Duke’s NCAA Tournament, announced in April that he was returning for his junior season.

Duke is bolstering its perimeter with 6-6 small forward Dariq Whitehead and 6-5 guard Jaden Schutt arriving as part of the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class.

The Blue Devils also recruited AJ Green, a 6-4 guard from Northern Iowa, into the transfer portal. Green, a two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, has limited his college decisions to Duke or Iowa State, where his father is an assistant coach.

But Green announced on Wednesday that he was ending his college basketball career and staying in the NBA draft to pursue a professional career.

Duke is also chasing 6-3 guard Courtney Ramey, who has played at Texas for the past four seasons. Ramey is on the NCAA transfer portal looking to use up his final season of college eligibility at a new school. He averaged 9.4 points for the Longhorns last season while starting 32 games and playing in all 34.

Last season with the Blue Devils, Keels played 36 games with 26 starts. Selected to the ACC freshman team, he averaged 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 41.9%, including 31.9 % of his 3 points.

During the NCAA Tournament, Keels was one of the top reserves in Duke’s five games in their run to the Final Four. His best games in March were a 12-point outing in an 85-76 second-round win over Michigan State and 19 points when UNC beat Duke, 81-77, in the Final Four.

Invited to the NBA draft in Chicago in May, Keels opted out of 5-on-5 scrums or shooting practice. He underwent strength and agility tests, and his results weren’t strong compared to other players who participated.

Keels’ maximum vertical jump of 31 inches, for example, was better than only six other participants, and well behind Tennessee’s 6-foot freshman Kennedy Chandler’s 41.5-inch top jump.

In the shuttle run, an exercise designed to demonstrate speed and change of direction, Keels’ time was 3.32 seconds. Australian point guard Dyson Daniels clocked the best time of 2.81 seconds. Only two players, Gonzaga 6-7 striker Julian Strawther and Purdue 6-10 center Trevion Williams, had slower times than Keels.

His 3/4 field sprint time of 3.27 seconds tied him for 28th place, well behind Michigan State guard Max Christie’s best time of 3.07 seconds.

Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. It placed second for both rhythm writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors National Competition. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats such as the Panthers of NFL Carolina and Orleans New Saints, University of South Carolina Athletics and SC General Assembly. It has won numerous awards from state-level press associations. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.