Duke basketball signee soars, sibling sports Blue Devil gear

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

It’s quite possible the Johnson surname will be a Duke basketball treasure.

Surprisingly, Dick Johnson is the only one of four previous Duke basketball players sharing his uber-popular last name to account for more than 0.5 points per game. The 1950s Blue Devil averaged a whopping 3.4 points across his two seasons in Durham and tallied all of 196 for his career.

In other words, incoming freshman Jalen Johnson should have no problem seizing the distinction as the highest-scoring Johnson in program history — even if he stays in town only one season. In fact, the five-star small forward, who ranks No. 11 overall on the 247Sports 2020 Composite, could even do so before ACC play begins next season.

During a recent “open run” alongside five-star 2021 power forward Michael Foster and a few other notable prospects, Johnson exhibited a level of explosiveness that should look appealing to his new fanbase:

In addition to showing off what seems to be enhanced bounce and mid-air creativity, the video from Movement Hoops definitely doesn’t discredit Johnson’s recent “feeling” of a late growth spurt. Maybe the so-called 6-foot-8 versatile weapon is now indeed 6-foot-9 and maybe even flirting with 6-10. Or maybe not. Yet keep in mind that the 18-year-old appears to have a recent haircut.

Another Johnson serves as a Duke basketball advertisement

Also potentially pertinent, at the end of the above Jalen Johnson dunk-fest is a shot of his younger brother, Kobe, rocking a Duke T-shirt, suggesting he’s at least a proud supporter of his big bro’s choice of school.

Despite averaging 19.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists last season for Nicolet (Wis.) as a teammate to Jalen, Kobe Johnson does not yet appear on the 247Sports 2021 Composite. But the 6-foot-5, 180-pound combo guard has drawn more attention of late, now holding offers from Cal, DePaul, Indiana State, Elon, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Bradley. Even if the rising senior doesn’t follow his brother’s lead by adding to his height, it’s possible he could one day add Duke to his list of suitors.

Needless to say, even if Jalen Johnson is the only one from his household to ever play for Mike Krzyzewski, his surname on the back of the No. 1 jersey should soon require some significant mention in Blue Devil lore.

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Of course, whether Johnson’s one-and-done story ends in Indianapolis next April with snipped nets in hand, well, that will depend on the entire 2020-21 cast.

Coach K returns four regular contributors: senior combo guard Jordan Goldwire, junior wing Joey Baker, sophomore stretch-four Matthew Hurt, and sophomore small forward Wendell Moore. As for fresh faces, grad-transfer big man Patrick Tape joins Johnson and five other rookies: point guard Jeremy Roach, combo guard DJ Steward, power forward Henry Coleman, power forward Jaemyn Brakefield, and center Mark Williams.

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