As a freshman, Duke's Kyle Filipowski showed he was ready to carry on the lineage of talented Blue Devils big men. He won ACC Rookie of the Year and led the team in points (15.1) and rebounds (9.0). Heading into his second year, he is embracing another long-running Duke tradition -- the role of "villain" to opposing fans.
Whether it be Christian Laettner, JJ Redick, or Grayson Allen, Duke basketball stars have long shown a proclivity for garnering negative reactions from rival fanbases. In an interview on The Brotherhood Podcast, Filipowski indicated he is cut from the same cloth as other famous Blue Devils antagonists.
"I did experience some (hate) last year, just hearing a lot of bad talk about me," Filipowski said. "That's what happens when you're a really good player playing for a really good team. ... I use it as fuel to the fire. It makes me laugh because I'm like, 'You guys are talking s--t to me while you're watching me play. You're spending your money to watch me beat your ass.' It's very entertaining for me."
The Blue Devils late surge that helped them capture the ACC Tournament championship before a loss to Tennessee in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament last year. Instead of going through the NBA Draft process, Filipowski elected to come back to Duke for his sophomore campaign.
His return helped fuel hype for what is is expected to be one of the top teams in the country. In CBS Sports' latest Top 25 And 1, Gary Parrish has the Blue Devils at No. 3. In addition to Filipowski, Duke returns Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell. Duke has the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the 2023 cycle coming to campus this season. That class features Jared McCain, Sean Stewart, Caleb Foster and TJ Power.