Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson cowardly opts out of season

Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball freshman forward Jalen Johnson has opted out of the 2020-21 season. 

Duke basketball fans aren’t going to like how this article will begin, but North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said it best, “Do you know what opting out means? It means you freakin’ quit. Whether it’s a team or an individual, opting out means you quit. And that bothers me.”

Williams echoed those sentiments in a press conference with the media at the beginning of February in regards to teams possibly opting out of the conference tournaments, specifically the ACC Tournament.

Well, Duke freshman forward Jalen Johnson has opted out of the 2020-21 season.

The news was first reported by Jacob Polacheck of ZagsBlog and confirmed by multiple other outlets.

Johnson missed four weeks with a foot injury, which was called into question by Stadium’s Jeff Goodman as he received backlash from many Blue Devil fans.

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Goodman doubled down on his speculation on Monday night when the news broke, stating that there have been “off-court issues” between Johnson’s camp and the Blue Devils.

Johnson has been coming off the bench since Duke fell to Miami (FL) on February 1, and after playing 24 minutes off the bench in a loss to North Carolina, he played a combined 23 minutes in a loss to Notre Dame and victory over North Carolina State.

Jalen Johnson dealt with the same controversy his senior year of high school when it looked like he would play for powerhouse IMG Academy (Fla.) before never stepping on the floor due to issues with his camp and the coaching staff.

Johnson transferred back to Nicolet (Wis.), where he played as a junior, to complete his senior year.

Duke basketball not hurt by loss of Jalen Johnson

Jalen Johnson would have been a one-and-done at Duke. There’s no secret about that, but the way in which he is leaving is cowardly.

The Blue Devils are struggling, in the midst of their worst season in nearly three decades, playing in the middle of a pandemic, and he decides to make a business decision and leave now.

A cowardly move.

Jalen Johnson might have been the best individual talent on this Blue Devil roster, but Duke was playing better as a team with him off the floor.

Addition by subtraction.

Johnson will end his Duke career by playing 13 games, starting eight, and averaging 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game.

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There is a very good chance Duke will not make the NCAA Tournament. There’s a better chance the Blue Devils miss the Big Dance than earn an at-large bid.

Mike Krzyzewski probably won’t accept an NIT bid. The season is likely over in four weeks, and yet Johnson still decided to leave now.

Don’t get it twisted; Jalen Johnson quit on Duke.

He didn’t come to Durham to win championships, or hang banners, or be part of ‘The Brotherhood’.

He wanted to be a Blue Devil to better himself for the NBA and boost his draft stock.

When he’s selected in the lottery, hopefully he doesn’t quit on his team midway through the season when they are 15 games below .500.

Goodbye, Jalen Johnson, Duke fans hardly knew you. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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