Jalen Johnson’s first and only season at Duke came to an end this week, as the freshman forward announced that he would opt out of the rest of the season. That decision was immediately followed by a mixed reaction from the media.
There was a report from Jeff Goodman of Stadium that said there were “off-court issues” involving Johnson and his camp and Duke. The reason he opted out though was so he could be as healthy as possible for the 2021 NBA Draft.
Jay Bilas also weighed in on Johnson opting out this week. He didn’t really take a side in this matter, but he did find the timing quite odd.
“Yeah, really surprising news, Sean, that Jalen Johnson opted out of the remainder of the season for Duke,” Bilas said, via 247Sports. “He’s coming off a game in which he played only eight minutes at NC State and it was a game that Duke played arguably its best game in the last month — essentially, without him — and for him to opt out now, optically, it’s very odd. But I’ll be interested to see what Duke winds up saying about this. I’m sure they’ll support the decision. But knowing how basketball works, that’s just an odd thing to do at this time of year.”
Duke looked dominant this past weekend against NC State despite Johnson only playing eight minutes.
Johnson’s lack of playing time wasn’t the reason the Blue Devils played well, but it goes to show they can win without the talented forward.
The Blue Devils will try to get over .500 on the season tomorrow night against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.