Duke Basketball: 2020 SF Jalen Johnson admits package deal is possible

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The 2020 class contains a handful of five-stars who could serve as the foundation for another Duke basketball mega-class.

When combined together, the last names Johnson, Barnes, Boston, and Roach look like the name of a law firm. In actuality, those are the surnames Duke basketball fans hope to see on the backs of jerseys inside Cameron Indoor Stadium during the 2020-21 season.

Months ago, in an interview with Rivals’ Corey Evans, five-star 2020 point guard Jeremy Roach (ranks No. 15 on the 247Sports Composite) mentioned having discussions about playing together in college with a few guys he hung out with last summer as a member of the USA Basketball U17 team.

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Three of those Roach named are also five-stars holding offers from Duke: small forward Jalen Johnson (No. 3), small forward Scottie Barnes (No. 4), and shooting guard Brandon Boston Jr. (No. 8).

ALSO READ: Jeremy Roach represents the best bet to replace Tre Jones

The only school other than Duke remaining in contention for each of the four potential college teammates is — you guessed it — Kentucky (no surprise considering the two recruiting juggernauts have combined to reel in eleven straight No. 1 classes, per 247Sports’ rankings).

On Sunday night, Johnson — a day after trimming his list of potential schools to Duke, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Arizona — confirmed in an interview with Tipton Edits that he has had talks “among a few different people” about a package deal.

While the 6-foot-8, 215-pound native of Milwaukee, Wisc., declined to do like Roach by naming prospects for the possible package deal, he did single out Boston as a guy he talks to “every once in a while.”

Also of note, he pointed out that out of all the current players and 2019 signees for the four programs remaining on his list, the only one he has regular contact with will debut as a Blue Devil in the fall: five-star center Vernon Carey Jr.

"“I talk to Vernon every once in a while,” Johnson said. “He’s been on me a little bit [about choosing Duke].”"

Carey Jr., who ranks the highest among the Blue Devils’ 2019 signees but will likely be in the NBA by the time Johnson would arrive in Durham, deserves a hearty thanks from Duke fans for his recruiting efforts — regardless of whether or not they are successful.

But on to what else Johnson told Tipton Edits about Duke and its coaches:

"“The fact they came to my house, that meant a lot,” Johnson said about the staff’s visit two weeks ago. “To see the whole coaching staff there, that was also big…They just see a lot of potential in me. They’ve been comparing me to other fours they had like [Brandon] Ingram, [Jayson] Tatum, and guards they were able to move around.”"

ALSO READ: Potential prize of 2020 class hosts entire Duke staff

In addition to Ingram and Tatum, Johnson — whose presence declares rule over any court he steps on with his ability to seamlessly dictate flow whether he’s playing inside, outside, or anywhere in between — has drawn comparisons to a who’s who of former Duke basketball stars with a similar frame: Grant Hill, Shane Battier, and Justise Winslow, just to name a few.

Not only is Johnson the highest-ranked Blue Devil target from the 2020 class, but he also may be the first to commit — meaning he could be the necessary starting piece to put together the package-deal puzzle.

"“Hopefully, [I’ll be able] to get the decision done, over with, maybe within the next couple months,” Johnson told Tipton Edits."

Of the four potential components to the package deal that would spawn goosebumps on the arms of Blue Devil fans when they daydream about the 2020-21 roster, the 247Sports Crystal Ball only favors Duke to land both Johnson and Boston — the latter is not likely to announce his college choice until at least the fall.

Duke does not appear — yet — inside the Crystal Ball for Roach, who hopes to announce by summer’s end, nor Barnes, who has suggested he’s putting off his decision until next spring.

ALSO READ: How Blue Devils may land 2020 SF Scottie Barnes

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has not yet received a 2020 commitment; along with the potential fearsome foursome discussed above, he has also extended offers to five-star center Walker Kessler, who ranks No. 16 on the composite, and four-star center Mark Williams, who ranks No. 45.

Kessler has stated he intends to announce where he’s headed before the start of his senior season. Williams has not indicated a timeline for his decision.

ALSO READ: Staff uses bold comparison to lure Walker Kessler

With potentially less than a handful of returning players slated to be on the 2020-21 roster, Krzyzewski and his understudies will need to haul in a historically deep class.

And there’s no better way to do that, of course, than to secure an epic package deal.

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