Whitehead hadn’t played yet this season after undergoing surgery on his right foot in late August. He shot 3-for-11 from the field and added two rebounds in 15 minutes of action off the bench.
A versatile 6-foot-7 wing, Whitehead was the No. 2 recruit in the ESPN 100 last spring and is a projected lottery pick in ESPN’s latest NBA draft rankings. He was named the Naismith High School Player of the Year and earned MVP honors at the McDonald’s All American Game. Whitehead also helped lead Montverde Academy (Florida) to consecutive national championships as a junior and senior.
After opening the season with wins over Jacksonville and USC Upstate, Duke suffered its first loss of the season to Kansas on Tuesday at the Champions Classic. The Blue Devils shot 3-for-21 from 3-point range and had just eight assists to 18 turnovers. Once Whitehead is fully healthy, he should help in both areas — and is likely to allow Jon Scheyer to use a more traditional starting five with Whitehead on the wing and Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively or Mark Mitchell down low.
Lively was also injured for the latter part of the preseason, but he returned against USC Upstate. The No. 1 prospect in the ESPN 100, Lively has yet to start a game for Duke this season.