What Duke basketball fans should expect from 2020 commit DJ Steward

Duke basketball signee DJ Steward (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Duke basketball signee DJ Steward (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Five-star Duke basketball signee DJ Steward is one of the most slept-on players in the class of 2020.

When it comes to DJ Steward‘s game, his play speaks for itself. But there are a lot of people who still haven’t seen him play. This complete breakdown of the incoming Duke basketball freshman’s game will help familiarize those who have yet to see him in action, along with those unfamiliar with what to expect from him as a Blue Devil.

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Steward thrives the most when the ball is in his hands. His offensive awareness is up there with the best of his class. The Chicago native can react to what the defense gives him on the fly. He’s adept at using fakes to get past defenders who are closing out and has great vision to make the right decision if his teammates are open.

Although Steward can pass the ball well, he is not an amazing passer. He is 6-foot-3 and will most likely play point guard, but expecting him to play as a traditional point guard will only disappoint you. Just like numerous guards in today’s landscape of basketball, he is a combo guard. The 18-year-old can pass the ball well enough for his position, but he can also score with the best of them.

Duke basketball fans won’t ever have to worry about Steward’s ability to score the ball, as he is a professional scorer. He imposes his will in many ways on the court. He is an excellent player in isolation and has many tools in his toolkit to get a bucket at will. His ability to break down defenders with ease will translate well to the college scene.

In his senior season at Whitney Young, the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year averaged 22.5 points per game and could put on an offensive clinic on any given night. Don’t be surprised if Steward, who ranks No. 24 overall on the 247Sports 2020 Composite, has some high-scoring games next season.

Steward’s ball-handling skills aren’t elite, but they are adequate. His ability to shake defenders with his crossover helps open up the offense for the entire team. The McDonald’s All-American attracts so much attention once he gets into the paint, allowing for his teammates to get wide-open opportunities from outside. With Duke basketball players like Joey Baker, Matthew Hurt, and Jalen Johnson on the perimeter with him, he is going to thrive on offense.

However, Steward’s defense has been a question mark. He isn’t going to bring Gary Payton-level defense when he steps on the court, but he can bring intensity and poise on the defensive end. He is exceptional when it comes to anticipating passes. His quick, explosive bursts catch offensive players off guard and create transition opportunities.

His defensive game is almost identical to Allen Iverson‘s. Both players aren’t the best individual defenders, but they’re exceptional team defenders. Steward is definitely going to be among the top Blue Devils in steals next season because of his ability to jump the passing lane.

DJ Steward has all the tools to be an amazing player next season at Duke. With the new crop of players coming in, the talent level of the 2020-21 Blue Devils will be very high. Averages will be down for a lot of the six new freshmen from their high school days since there’s only one ball to go around. However, expect big performances from them throughout the season.

Many of those performances will have Steward at the forefront.

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