Two Duke basketball freshmen offer giant sigh of relief

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

All the key Duke basketball players can now begin the bond-forming process.

With so many athletes across the sports landscape opting not to participate in various competitions due to COVID-19 and/or social concerns, a few no-shows last weekend for the Duke basketball move-in day was a tad concerning in the eyes of some fans. No worries. It now appears as if the missing rookie pieces have joined the other Blue Devils (though there is still no evidence on social media of grad transfer Patrick Tape touching down in Durham yet).

Five-star Jalen Johnson, the highest-ranked member of 41st-year head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s new class at No. 13 on the 247Sports 2020 Composite, was the most worrisome late arrival in light of his unexplained departure from IMG Academy (Fla.) in December after never even playing for the school. But the 6-foot-8, 215-pound versatile forward and probable go-to weapon for the Blue Devils roused his new fanbase with this Saturday evening tweet:

Hours later, four-star Henry Coleman, the lowest-ranked of the six scholarship freshmen at No. 52 overall, followed suit. With his retweet and response to Johnson’s message, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound workhorse forward seemed to confirm that Duke’s entire half dozen of 2020 signees are now officially residents inside the team’s makeshift bubble and ready to get busy doing exactly what they signed up for:

The most important subject for Duke basketball right now: Chemistry

So all seems well on the Duke basketball front. All the vital talents are in place for a squad that should start the season inside the top 10 in the country. The Blue Devils sit No. 8 in the latest rankings from CBS Sports insider Gary Parrish, trailing only No. 5 Virginia among ACC constituents, with the nation’s No. 3 freshman class, per 247Sports.

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In addition to Jalen Johnson and Henry Coleman, Duke’s group of first-year collegians includes the top candidate to start at point guard in five-star Jeremy Roach, a top contender to light up scoreboards in five-star combo guard DJ Steward, an overlooked multifaceted force in four-star power forward Jaemyn Brakefield, and a nimble tower in five-star center Mark Williams.

The frosh will look to gel with five other potential regular contributors: two seniors in big man Patrick Tape and backcourt defensive stalwart Jordan Goldwire, one junior in sharpshooting wing Joey Baker, plus two sophomores in former five-star prep forwards Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore.

Now that at least 10 of the 11 guys above have for sure arrived on campus, the only thing to worry about is whether a college basketball season will take place at all and what it might entail if it does. Those answers, however, are not likely to arrive anytime soon.

Related Story. Ranking all 40 Duke teams under Coach K. light

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