Duke basketball has serious cause for concern with positional group

Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players who hurt their stock against Notre Dame

Joey Baker

Joey Baker was ready to let his shots fly against North Carolina, and he wasn’t bashful against Notre Dame, either.

However, Baker wasn’t hitting many of his shots, going 1-for-5 to be exact, and missed another clutch shot in the final minutes of the game.

The junior has now missed potential game-tying or go-ahead shots in games against Louisville, North Carolina, and Notre Dame.

Baker entered Duke as the forgotten man in the Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones recruiting class, and he’s won over the fanbase with his hustle and intensity. But for someone who entered Durham as a shooter, he has to hit his outside shots better than at a 29-percent clip.

Jalen Johnson

How much time does everyone have? Because this could take a while.

Jalen Johnson is arguably Duke’s best player. He is Duke’s most talented player. Sometimes, his energy and effort come off as lackadaisical.

He doesn’t start anymore. While he’s on the floor, though, he makes a positive impact individually. But the team suffers tremendously.

Johnson was not on the floor in the closing stages of the loss to the Irish and was limited to just 16 minutes. That was the fewest of any player who saw action for Duke other than Henry Coleman, who only played four minutes.

Jalen Johnson added eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, 2-of-2 from three-point range, while turning the ball over three times and picking up two fouls.

But the worst stat of all, the five-star freshman had a +/- rating of -19, by far the worst on the team. Duke was outscored by 19 points with Jalen Johnson on the floor.

Mike Krzyzewski has to figure something out with his prized freshman recruit.

Jaemyn Brakefield

If we are trying to figure out what is wrong with Jalen Johnson, the same conversation has to be had about Jaemyn Brakefield.

Why can he not see the floor? He provided good minutes when Johnson was sidelined with an injury, so why can’t he get on the court while Johnson is struggling?

Since playing 27 minutes against Virginia Tech on January 12, Brakefield has played a total of 25 minutes and did not see the court in games against Miami (FL) and Notre Dame.

The lack of playing time for the freshman is on a trajectory that doesn’t end well, one that most likely has Jaemyn Brakefield playing with another program next season.

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