The Duke men's basketball staff spent some time on the road scoping out prospects during the City of Palms Invitational before the Christmas break. Here are highlights from three future Blue Devils in DJ Stewart, AJ Griffin, and Mark Williams from our friends at Courtside Films.
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has announced the signing of six future Blue Devils during the NCAA's early-signing period. The class is ranked No. 2 according to ESPN, which would give Duke's signing classes a top-two ranking in each of the last seven seasons.
Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman III, Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, D.J. Steward and Mark Williams will enter the Duke program for the 2020-21 season. Duke's previous top-ranked classes in the ESPN 100 came in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018, while the 2016 and 2019 classes were ranked No. 2.
Jaemyn Brakefield – 6-8 – 215 – Forward – Jackson, Miss. – Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
- A five-star power forward
- Ranked as the No. 23 overall player in ESPN 100's rankings for the class of 2020
- Ranked as the No. 1 player in the state of West Virginia and the No. 5 player at his position in the ESPN 100
- Played for Team Phenom University in the EYBL with fellow Duke signee Jalen Johnson and averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists last summer with two double-doubles
- Committed to Duke on October 4, 2019
- Chose the Blue Devils over Louisville, Michigan and Auburn, among others
Henry Coleman III – 6-7 – 210 – Forward – Richmond, Va. – Trinity Episcopal School
- A four-star power forward
- Ranked as the No. 42 player overall in ESPN 100's rankings for the class of 2020
- Also ranked as the No. 5 player in the state of Virginia and the No. 8 at his position in the ESPN 100
- Averaged 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds this past summer on the Nike EYBL circuit for Team Loaded
- Is senior class president at Trinity Episcopal School
- Committed to Duke on September 27, 2019
- Chose the Blue Devils over Michigan, NC State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State, among others
Jalen Johnson – 6-8 – 215 – Forward – Glendale, Wisc. – IMG Academy (Fla.)
- A five-star small forward
- Ranked as the No. 4 overall player in ESPN 100's rankings for the class of 2020
- Ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida and No. 1 at his position in the ESPN 100
- Led Nicolet HS in Glendale, Wisc., to a state championship last season before transferring to IMG Academy for his senior campaign
- Played for Team Phenom University in the EYBL with fellow Duke signee Jaemyn Brakefield and averaged 17.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists last summer with five double-doubles
- Committed to Duke on July 4, 2019
- Chose the Blue Devils over Arizona, Kentucky and Wisconsin, among others
Jeremy Roach – 6-2 – 180 – Guard – Leesburg, Va. – Paul VI HS
- A five-star point guard
- Ranked as the No. 15 player overall in ESPN 100's ranking for the class of 2020
- Also ranked second in the state of Virginia and ranked third overall at his position in the ESPN 100
- Missed his junior season of high school (ACL)
- Played for Team Takeover in the Nike EYBL and averaged 6.6 points and 3.1 assists in the summer of 2018
- Has won a pair of gold medals with USA Basketball – at the 2017 FIBA Americas U-16 and the 2018 FIBA U-17 World Cup
- Was the starting point guard for the U-17 team and averaged 6.4 points and 2.7 assists
- The first five-star player in the class of 2020 to announce his commitment, committing to Duke on May 8, 2019
- Chose the Blue Devils over Kentucky, North Carolina and Villanova, among others
D.J. Steward – 6-3 – 175 – Guard – Chicago, Ill. – Whitney Young HS
- A five-star combo guard
- Ranked as the No. 26 player overall in ESPN 100's ranking for the class of 2020
- Also ranked second in the state of Illinois and ranked seventh overall at his position in the ESPN 100
- Averaged 24.1 points and shot 41 percent from three-point range in the summer of 2019 for Team MeanStreets on the Nike EYBL circuit
- Attended the same high school as former Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor
- Committed to Duke on September 18, 2019
- Chose the Blue Devils over North Carolina, Louisville, Indiana and Texas, among others
Mark Williams – 7-0 – 230 – Center – Norfolk, Va. – IMG Academy (Fla.)
- A four-star center
- Ranked as the No. 30 overall player in ESPN 100's rankings for the class of 202
- Ranked No. 4 in the state of Florida and as the No. 5 center in the ESPN 100
- Played three years at Norfolk Academy before transferring to IMG Academy for his senior season
- On the Nike EYBL circuit, played for Team Boo Williams and averaged 14.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, while shooting 64 percent from the field
- Improved his numbers to 23.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 76 percent shooting at the Peach Jam
- His older sister, Elizabeth, played for Duke from 2011-15 and now plays for the WNBA's Atlanta Dream
- Committed to Duke on November 2, 2019
- Chose the Blue Devils over UCLA and Michigan, among others.
Steward is a Chicago native and that, of course, is where head coach Mike Krzyzewski is from. The Blue Devils staff flew up to visit the star guard earlier this week.
Steward hoops for Whitney Young High School which produced Duke alum Jahlil Okafor.
It is no secret that Steward has been a focus of the Blue Devils staff and they are now moving quickly to state their case. This will be the Stewart's family first visit to campus.
Steward most recently visited Texas and many have said Louisville has been all-in on him of late. Both Duke and Louisville visited Chicago this week, but the Blue Devils have moved fast to get him on campus and show him how they envision his use should he become a part of the brotherhood.
Duke continues it's busy September and most recently hosted Henry Coleman and Walker Kessler as they try to round out their class. The Blue Devils will also host Mark Williams soon as they zero in on their prospects of choice.
For more on Steward and how we think this recruitment will play out, join Blue Devil Nation during our 60.00 for one-year special. We give you a straight forward take without the fluff on recruiting and views on the team.
This weekend, Duke will host top-rated big man and long-time target Walker Kessler. The 6-10 prospect plays for Woodburn Academy in Fairburn, Georgia.
The Blue Devils have had the Kessler family on campus before but this time they hope to close the deal on a much-needed body.
Duke is expected to lose almost all of their frontcourt players after this coming season and there is a need for multiple prospects who can anchor the baseline.
The Blue Devils have already secured the services of Jalen Johnson and Jeremy Roach, but the desire is to land commitments from several more players.
Duke will entertain Virginia big man Mark Williams in November. He's the brother of former Duke standout Elizabeth Williams. The fast-rising big man will be playing alongside Jalen Johnson after transferring to IMG Academy.
The Blue Devils are in the process of setting up a visit with Chicago scorer DJ Steward. Duke is all in on Steward who has been getting several offers since early summer.
Duke has also entered the Ziaire Williams race to stay which we mentioned a few weeks back to Blue Devil Nation members. That said, join Blue Devil Nation Premium during our 60 bucks for one year special and get straight talk on where we think Duke stands with the aforementioned recruits.
While the players listed head the list, there are some other possibilities which could come into play. But make no mistake, Duke wants every prospect on this shortlist of players they want to become a part of the brotherhood.
After his impressive performances at the Nike Peach Jam, Duke has offered DJ Steward. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski extended an offer after watching him with assistants, Jon Scheyer, and Nate James during the last two days of the event.
Steward is a 6-3 combo guard with a natural knack for scoring. The fast-rising young star scored 31 points, dished out 5 assists while pulling down 12 rebounds while the Duke staff watched his game against a stacked AOC team and an offer came within hours after the performance.
The Chicago native is making a name for himself by playing high-level basketball, showing grit and determination to make himself better.
To give you an idea of his ascent up the rankings, Steward originally was ranked as the 103rd best player and is now tabbed as high as 27. By weeks end, he will be in the teens in adjusted rankings per reliable sources.
Steward was on the Duke radar prior to the Peach Jam where the Blue Devils staff sent word they would watch him. Needless to say, he impressed the longtime Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski enough to move fast to get into the expanding picture.
Duke will now try to set up a visit in the future for Steward and he will hear from Krzyzewski as he is likely to take his time and go on his allotted five official visits.
Only time will tell whether Duke gets one of those visits, but the feeling her is they should as the relationship develops. It is worth noting he has played for Whitney Young High School which is the alma mater of former Blue Devil and current New Orlean Pelican center Jahlil Okafor.
— DJ Steward (@swipasnipa) July 13, 2019