By AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Author
Extremely touted Duke freshman Jalen Johnson is forgoing the remainder of the Blue Devils’ season and declaring for the NBA draft.
The varsity introduced Johnson’s resolution on Monday night time. The transfer was first reported by ZagsBlog.com.
The 6-foot-9, 220-pound ahead was averaging 11.2 factors and 6.1 rebounds, although he missed three video games and important follow time with a December foot damage in an unexpectedly bumpy season for the Blue Devils.
In a press release, the 19-year-old Johnson — thought of by many a doable lottery prospect — mentioned the choice got here after consulting with household and coach Mike Krzyzewski to make sure he is “100% wholesome in preparation for the NBA draft.”
“This was not simple however we really feel it’s finest for my future,” Johnson mentioned. “I’ve nothing however love for the Brotherhood and thank my teammates and everybody related to this system. Duke will at all times have a particular place in my coronary heart and can at all times be part of me.”
The Blue Devils (8-8, 6-6 Atlantic Coast Convention) ended a three-game dropping streak by successful at North Carolina State on Saturday, although they continue to be prone to lacking their first NCAA Event since 1995. Johnson had three factors in eight minutes whereas coming off the bench for the third straight recreation.
Afterward, Krzyzewski mentioned Johnson was “knocked again” by the sport’s physicality however added: “I’ve confidence in him. We’re going to maintain working with him and he’ll have alternatives.”
Johnson was Duke’s highest-ranked recruit at No. 13 in response to 247sports.com, and had 19 factors with 19 rebounds in his debut in opposition to Coppin State. He had harder occasions in December losses to Michigan State and Illinois earlier than the damage that sidelined him greater than a month.
The spotlight after his return was an enormous recreation (24 factors, 16 rebounds, seven assists and 4 blocks) at Pittsburgh. Johnson finishes his Duke profession with six double-figure scoring performances in 13 video games.
Krzyzewski mentioned final week the workforce was carefully monitoring Johnson’s foot as a result of “it may very well be a significant factor in his profession” if not dealt with effectively.
“Whereas we’re inspired by what we’re seeing medically, for Jalen’s future, we imagine this resolution is in his finest curiosity,” Krzyzewski mentioned in Monday’s assertion. ”We’re finally cautious with each one in every of our gamers and can proceed to assist Jalen as he progresses towards his purpose of enjoying skilled basketball. He deserves to be absolutely wholesome for the upcoming NBA draft.”
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