When trying to come up with which players will be in the court in crunch time for Duke next season, I keep coming up with four players. My current feeling is that Duke will want true freshman Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, and returnees Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore Jr. on the court most of the time.
We should see a vast improvement from Hurt and Moore, both of whom will be depended upon to lead via knowing the Blue Devils system of doing things. Ideally, you want some older players in the lineup but Duke will be a pretty young team, save two key backups, if you can call them that, in Jordan Goldwire and Joey Baker.
Jalen Johnson is a sure bet one and done talent and Duke will allow him plenty of freedom to grow his game while in Durham. Jeremy Roach will be handed the keys to point guard duties early on as well.
So, I see these four as starters for most of the season which begs the question, who will the fifth starter be? Well, to start, Duke will have a lot of players fill that role and it will come down to how players are working in practice and matchups.
When Duke goes big, they can look to freshman Mark Williams and to a lesser degree Jaemyn Brakefield and Henry Coleman. The staff will also have incoming Columbia transfer Patrick Tape in the mix in the frontcourt. I can see all of these players getting a start and when practice resumes, we will have an idea of who is adjusting to perceived roles.
As for the freshman, Brakefield and Coleman each bring their skillset to the mix. Brakefield is a solid offensive player who can stretch the floor and Coleman is a versatile hard worker around the paint. Williams can be a basket protector and a force in the paint and has continuously improved in the past two years.
But Duke can go smaller as well and this is where I enter another freshman D.J. Steward into the mix. He is a potentially prolific scorer and talented enough to fill that fifth spot. In fact, when I took a poll of the few people I trust, he seemed to be what most considered the best bet for the fifth starting spot.
But, hold on a minute. This is where we talk about Jordan Goldwire. Talk about a hard worker that will get after you defensively. And then there is Joey Baker who is always a three-point threat and a player who can do much more than that.
This is where I tell you that while I have penciled in some perceived starters, it does not mean they will have to play ironman minutes. In fact, there are many lineup possibilities.
Duke can go small and pressure the heck out of teams with Roach, Steward, Goldwire, Moore, and a big. Or they can try and match up with the likes of bigger teams with Williams, Johnson, and Hurt with some help from Tape.
The Blue Devils have tweeners as well to insert into the mix, so at least early in the season, Duke will be able to go as deep as they did a season ago with concern to their lineups. I will go out on a limb and predict up to ten players will get a start at some point in the coming season.
While Duke will be young, they will be deep again this season. The key will be to get back on campus and get accustomed to one another as we all await positive news on the virus which has yet to clear.
Also, keep in mind this is my early take on Duke hoops in 2020-21 and it will change as we get closer to the season. But for now, this is a gauge on what we might expect.
I will be discussing other aspects and possibilities concerning Duke Basketball as we tie several articles in as an early bird preview in the coming days where we'll answer a lot of team questions. And speaking of questions, send any into our bluedevilnation@twitter feed with the hashtag #AskBDN and we will address the best of them.
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.
The Duke Blue Devils secured three prospects and two commitments this past weekend during Countdown to Craziness.
The Duke staff entertained 2020 center prospect Hunter Dickinson on his official visit. Dickinson is expected to make a decision in the near future.
Duke also had a visit from 2021 standout Paolo Banchero who is expected at this time to remain with his class. Banchero has a long list of suitors. He did make this tweet pictured in a Duke uniform -
The Blue Devils also had a visit from 2021 New York standout AJ Griffin. We look forward to seeing him back for an official visit to Cameron and Duke.
Also attending the festivities were verbal commitments Henry Coleman and Jaemyn Brakefield.
For more on recruiting join Blue Devil Nation Premium during our special. We will give you an idea of how everything will shake out.
The Duke Blue Devils unofficial start to the basketball season is their annual Countdown to Craziness event in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
While the event is designed to introduce the Cameron Crazies to the 2019-20 version of the team, it is also a time when key recruits and or prospects attend.
This year is no different where Duke will be entertaining 2020 center Hunter Dickinson of DeMatha High for his official visit. Duke seeks a verbal commitment from Dickinson and Mark Williams who will visit later this month to round out what could be a seven-player class.
Dickinson has been linked to Michigan which got a verbal commitment from Isiah Todd yesterday who is a power forward from North Carolina. His official visit begins today where he will be on campus early for the festivities.
Three 2020 players who have already given Duke a verbal commitment will attend the event as well. PG Jeremy Roach will come down from Virginia to join the last two Duke commitments, Henry Coleman and Jaemyn Brakefield for the festivities.
Roach was a former teammate of Hunter Dickinson and he will surely be in his ear as will the other players which form the Class of 2020. Roach was the first prospect to commit to the Blue Devils and he, along with Jalen Johnson has been active in recruiting teammates.
The Blue Devils staff has also secured visits from two 2021 studs. Big man Paolo Banchero will be making his first trip to Durham. Banchero has been on the Duke radar and every other blue blood program since his stellar play during the summer circuit.
Another consensus top ten rated player AJ Griffin, a small forward out of New York will also be in attendance. Much like Banchero, Griffin is a physically mature player who will thrive at the college level even if it is for a single season.
There may be a few other young or local players attending as well and Blue Devil Nation will keep you posted on further developments.
Duke currently has the top-rated class for 2020 with the aforementioned Brakefield, Coleman, Johnson, and Roach. The other prospect on board is Chicago combo guard, DJ Steward.
Countdown to Craziness starts in just a few hours now where the doors open at 6:00 but there will be festivities in K-Ville around 4:00. The Blue-White game will finish things off starting around 8:30.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
4 p.m. - Festivities begin in K-Ville
6 p.m. – Doors open
7:55 p.m. – National anthem
8 p.m. – Introduction of the 2019-20 Blue Devils
8:25 p.m. – Blue-White scrimmage
The Duke Blue Devils got a pledge from 2020 power forward Henry Coleman III. The Richmond, Virginia native made his collegiate choice moments ago at Trinity Episcopal High Scool.
Coleman opened a gift box which contained a Duke cap and placed it on his head. Some Duke blue balloons on the side may have been a giveaway but his family and friends cheered loudly after his choice. And for good reason for he is his class's president.
"Duke just felt like home." The newest Blue Devil commit said he felt he fit in well with his future teammates. He reiterated, "I talked to Coach K a couple of days before the visit and he said as soon as you get on campus I was going to know it was home."
Coleman stands a good chance of making an immediate impact with Duke which is expected to lose much of their frontcourt. He is a hard-nosed and hard-working prospect capable of guard either forward spot on the court.
Duke coach Nate James played a vital role as lead assistant. The Blue Devils gained their fourth commitment in the 2020 class. Coleman will join recently committed DJ Steward, Jalen Johnson, and Jeremy Roach.
And his commitment brings another big plus. "Now, I’m turning in to a recruiter for my team and I’m going after Mark Williams!," Coleman said in his USA Today blog. He continued, "It’s easier for me because we’re actually best friends and we played AAU together for years, and we’ve always played really well together."
Coleman impressed the Duke staff while playing for Team Loaded on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. His improved play this past season drew a number of offers and the Blue Devils held off the likes of Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Michigan during the process.
Interestingly, Nate James and Coleman have a lot in common. James had the nickname Nate "Dogg," while in Durham and he was always around for a key rebound or basket. Coleman should develop nicely at Duke with his athleticism and hustle.
Coleman fits in nicely with his future class and gives the Blue Devils a strong body in the paint.
The Blue Devils are far from finished with the Class of 2020. They will now turn their attention to other key players including a big man back on the radar. For more on the latest recruiting efforts, join Blue Devil Nation Premium during our one-year special. We have years of experience and get out to the gyms to see the young men in person.
Check back for more on Coleman and his decision to attend Duke University.
Trinity Episcopal basketball player Henry Coleman commits to... Duke? VT? https://t.co/Xt4gRAsf79
— 804 Varsity (@804Varsity) September 27, 2019