Duke freshman Jalen Johnson opts out of rest of season, will declare for NBA draft

Ryan Young
·2 min read

Duke freshman and potential lottery pick Jalen Johnson has called it a season.

Johnson, the program announced on Monday afternoon, officially opted out of the rest of the season.

"I appreciate everything about my time at Duke," Johnson said in a statement. "Coach K, my teammates and the program have been nothing but supportive throughout this season, especially during the rehab of my foot injury.

"My family, coach and I have made the decision that I should not play the remainder of the season so I can be 100% healthy in preparation for the NBA draft. This was not easy but we feel it's best for my future."

Johnson averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 13 games this season for the Blue Devils. The former Rivals.com five-star recruit out of Wisconsin is widely considered to be a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek had him going No. 7 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in her latest mock draft.

"While we are encouraged by what we are seeing medically, for Jalen's future, we believe this decision is in his best interest," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. "We are ultimately careful with every one of our players and will continue to support Jalen as he progresses toward his goal of playing professional basketball. He deserves to be fully healthy for the upcoming NBA draft."

Duke has struggled this season, a strange sight for Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils. They are 8-8 overall and 6-6 in ACC play. Duke beat NC State on Saturday — Johnson scored three points in eight minutes off the bench — which snapped a three-game losing skid. They have just six games left on their regular-season schedule, starting with a road trip to Wake Forest on Wednesday.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi does not have Duke making the NCAA tournament in his latest Bracketology, which would mark the first time since the 1994-95 season that it missed the event — other than last year, though that tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duke's Jalen Johnson
Duke's Jalen Johnson opted out of the rest of the season on Monday. (AP/Keith Srakocic)

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