The Duke basketball team showed improvement in March Madness during Jon Scheyer’s second season as head coach. While the team finished with an identical 27-9 regular-season record, this Blue Devils team went to the Elite Eight, while the previous squad flamed out in the second round.

The 2024-25 group — with top prospect Cooper Flagg on the way — has a chance to be even better, but they’ll have to do it without forward Mark Mitchell, who is entering the transfer portal.

“BREAKING: Duke forward Mark Mitchell, a former 5 [star] recruit, plans to enter the transfer portal,” On3sports’ Joe Tipton reported on Tuesday. “The 6-7 former McDonald’s All-American averaged 11.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season.”

Mitchell came to Duke in 2022 as a five-star recruit ranked 20th in the country, according to 247Sports. Scheyer’s much-ballyhooed first recruiting class also included five-stars Dariq Whitehead (No. 2 overall), Dereck Lively II (No. 3), and Kyle Filipowski (No. 4).

Lively and Whitehead were both first-round picks in the 2023 NBA Draft, and Filipowski was first-team All-ACC and second-team All-American this year. If he does leave for this year’s NBA draft, he’s projected as a late lottery pick.

Mitchell’s classmates heading to the league may be one of the reasons he is entering the transfer portal. However, it is also likely due to the fact that Scheyer has the Cooper Flagg-led recruiting class coming in that has the potential to be generational.

The 2024-25 Duke team could be absolutely loaded

Duke Blue Devils recruit Cooper Flagg is greeted by fans during Countdown to Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Mark Mitchell Duke basketball recruiting class where Jon Scheyer got the Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 20 prospects was impressive. It was right up there with the 2018 class of Mike Krzyzewski where he got the Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 15 prospects, who turned out to be NBA players RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Zion Williamson, and Tre Jones, respectively.

Duke’s 2024 class could be even better.

Six-foot-nine forward Cooper Flagg is one of the best high school prospects in years, earning a perfect 1.000 rating from 247Sports. That’s a mark not achieved since Chet Holmgren in 2021 and by Barrett in 2018 and Andrew Wiggins in 2013 before that.

In addition to the No. 1 prospect, Duke also has the Nos. 3, 12, 14, 18, and 51 players coming it as well. That includes 7-foot-2 No. 1 center Khaman Malauch, 6-foot-6 No. 3 small forward Isaiah Evans, 6-foot-5 No. 5 SF Kon Knueppel, and 6-foot-11 No. 5 C Patrick Ngongba, and 6-foot-6 No. 15 SF Darren Harris.

Additionally, while Kyle Filipowski, Jared McCain, and Tyrese Proctor may enter the 2024 NBA Draft, none of the three have declared their intentions to do that or enter the transfer portal, so Duke’s Sensational Six freshmen could be joined by three Elite Eight starters next season.

If this is the case, it’s no wonder that Mark Mitchell entered the transfer portal when he did as the Duke basketball roster is going to be absolutely stacked next season for Jon Scheyer.