Promise continues to be shown from unlikely Duke basketball pieces

Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players who improved their stock against Clemson.

Mark Williams

Duke freshman center Mark Willams continues to impress in his recent stretch of games and is providing a reliable paint presence for the Blue Devils.

Williams came off the bench again to log 14 minutes while finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, and two blocks on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.

The five-star freshman posted his first double-digit game this season and received more than ten minutes in two straight games for the first time this year.

Williams had not played more than ten minutes prior to Tuesday’s victory against Georgia Tech since the Blue Devils’ victory against Bellarmine.

As the rotation will surely dwindle for Mike Krzyzewski into February, Mark Williams seems like a solid piece off the bench that will try and help Duke reach the NCAA Tournament in 2021.

Jeremy Roach

Following a solid stretch after a rough beginning to the season, freshman point guard Jeremy Roach looked lost in Duke’s last two games against Louisville and Georgia Tech.

Roach did not score in a combined 42 minutes in those games but looked much more like himself on Saturday against the Tigers.

The Virginia native posted 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists while only turning the ball over once.

Roach was 4-of-7 from the field, and all three of his misses came from three-point territory.

Coach K seems to have moved Jeremy Roach to the bench in favor of Jordan Goldwire, and perhaps the move could be beneficial for both point guards on the Duke roster.

Jalen Johnson

I mean, how could we leave Jalen Johnson off the list after what he did against Clemson.

Johnson didn’t have his best game by any means, but the five-star forward had the highlight of the night with his jaw-dropping dunk early in the first half that set social media ablaze.

Perhaps the best part of Johnson’s slam came from his postgame interview with ESPN, saying he knew what was coming, as well as fellow freshman DJ Steward’s reaction.

Jalen Johnson finished the afternoon with nine points, eight rebounds, and five assists on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.

DJ Steward

Much like Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward has struggled with an adjustment to ACC play.

Steward could not put a solid 40 minutes together, normally beginning the game hot and tapering off in the second half.

While no Blue Devil lit up the stat sheet on Saturday afternoon, Steward was very efficient in the minutes he saw with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and 2-of-4 from three-point range.

DJ Steward should be a little more aggressive hunting his shot as the best shooter on the team, but he seems very comfortable with a shot fake and a pull-up midrange jumper or getting to the rim.

Regardless, an aggressive and attacking DJ Steward is better for the longterm success of the Duke Blue Devils.