Duke Basketball: Snow postpones coaches’ plans to see Jalen Johnson

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball coaches intended to see their highest-ranked 2020 target play this weekend, but nature had other plans.

Jalen Johnson, a five-star 2020 small forward and potential future member of the Duke basketball program, is not quite ranked as the top player in his class. But that would be different if he oversaw the rankings.

"“I am the best player in the nation,” the 6-foot-8, 215-pounder told Rivals’ Corey Evans this weekend while his team was in Washington, D.C., for the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest. “That is my opinion, and I am going to play like it.”"

The Duke coaches had hoped to travel to the nation’s capital on Sunday to see the self-proclaimed best player in the 2020 class in action; however, due to a winter storm in North Carolina early Sunday morning, they decided not to make the trip.

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As a result, according to a tweet from Stock Risers’ Jake Weingarten, they now intend to catch Johnson play next Saturday night at his Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wis.

Johnson, who is currently ranked No. 4 in his class on the 247Sports Composite, still has 15 schools on his list. And based on his past comments to 247Sports’ Evan Flood, he does not envision himself making his final college choice until at least next fall.

That being said, Duke is considered the early favorite — four of the seven experts who have entered a prediction for Johnson at the 247Sports Crystal Ball peg him as a future Blue Devil (the other three all see him ending up at Wisconsin).

He took an official visit to the Durham campus the weekend of Oct. 19 — at the same time as fellow 2020 prospect B.J. Boston and 2019 Duke commit Vernon Carey Jr. — and was in attendance for Countdown to Craziness. The Blue Devils offered him a scholarship back in July.

Although Johnson’s game is unique, his skill set and frame seem to fit in the same mold as former Duke basketball stars Grant Hill and Jayson Tatum — with just a bit more flash. Simply put, his play is a beautiful display of athleticism, fluidity, and confidence beyond his years.

If you have never seen his highlights, here is a mixtape, courtesy of Courtside Films, from his play this past summer:

In addition to Johnson, the Blue Devils’ coaching staff has thus far extended offers to three other 2020 five-stars: R.J. Hampton, a combo guard ranked No. 5 on the composite rankings; Boston, a shooting guard ranked No. 10; and Jeremy Roach, a point guard who is ranked No. 15 and plays for Paul VI Catholic, Nicolet’s opponent for the game in Washington, D.C., on Sunday that the Duke coaches had hoped to be in attendance to see.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting updates, analysis, opinions, and predictions.