Duke's Jalen Johnson Opts Out of CBB Season, Declares for 2021 NBA Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2021

Duke's Jalen Johnson (1) shoots against Pittsburgh during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Duke forward Jalen Johnson is opting out of the remainder of the 2020-21 season and will enter the 2021 NBA draft.

According to Stadium's Jeff Goodman, there were "off-court issues between Jalen Johnson/his camp and Duke" that have been ongoing behind the scenes. Jacob Polaheck and Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog also spoke to a source who said the freshman has already cleaned out his locker.

Johnson was the No. 13 overall player and No. 3 small forward in 2020, per 247Sports' composite rankings, making him the highest-ranked member of Duke's recruiting class.

The Milwaukee native is third on the team in points (11.2) and second in rebounds per game (6.1). He's also shooting 52.3 percent from the floor and is 8-of-18 from beyond the arc.

However, Johnson seems to have fallen out of favor with head coach Mike Krzyzewski. He logged just eight minutes in a 69-53 win over North Carolina State on Saturday. He was on the floor for 15 minutes in the Blue Devils' previous game, a 93-89 loss to Notre Dame last Tuesday.

Johnson might still be feeling the effects of the foot injury that shelved him earlier in the year. His abrupt departure naturally raises questions about larger factors at play.

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman projected him to go sixth overall to the Chicago Bulls in his most recent mock draft. 

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"He projects as a playmaking big with an ability to grab and go, pass on the move or face up and attack," Wasserman wrote. "Shooting remains an obvious swing skill, but he can score from off the ball, using his tools and athleticism to cut, finish and crash the glass."