Duke basketball player forecasts national title, again

A first-year Duke basketball player is set on predicting one future banner.

If nothing else, Duke basketball freshman Jaemyn Brakefield is unabashedly optimistic, particularly in regards to the thought of hanging a sixth national championship banner from Cameron Indoor Stadium’s rafters. And the outgoing power forward’s bullish proclamation seemed to quickly rub off on some of his fellow freshman Blue Devils this week.

ALSO READ: Three chief concerns from updates to Duke’s roster

Brakefield, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound four-star out of Jackson, Miss., who shined across three prep seasons at Huntington Prep in West Virginia and arrived in Durham in August as the No. 41 overall prospect on the 247Sports 2020 Composite, tweeted on Monday evening what amounts to a followup forecast to his “It’s up with 5!” message on social media from a few weeks back.

This time, though, despite the fact Duke is unlikely to begin the season in the top five of the AP Poll, Brakefield was a bit more direct in his wording:

Other Duke basketball players followed Brakefield’s lead

Evidently feeding off the energy, Duke small forward and five-star Milwaukee product Jalen Johnson — the highest-ranked Blue Devil rookie at No. 13 in the 2020 class and Brakefield’s former teammate with Phenom University on the Nike EYBL circuit — chimed in an hour or so later by dusting off the program’s “SI6HTS” war cry:

Later on, freshman combo guard DJ Steward, a five-star potent scorer who hails from Chicago and finished his high school days with a No. 26 composite ranking, attached the hashtag to his own weather report from Duke’s practice courts:

One can assume from the timeline that Brakefield’s moxie rubbed off on the rest of the bunch. Or maybe, as the official Duke basketball account hinted at via a tweet of its own, the cheery Twitter game of Brakefield and his buddies — including a frequent retweeter in junior wing Joey Baker — came as a result of the group’s first-ever five-on-five intrasquad scrimmage on Monday:

Or maybe it was the weekend release on YouTube of the first episode of 2020-21 Duke Blue Planet that had the guys in good spirits:

Regardless of what is triggering the positive vibes and outward show of confidence, all signs thus far point to a 2020-21 roster full of young, hungry Dukies ready to give fans a reason to come up with a creative hashtag to mark the quest for banner No. 7.

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball news and views.