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Johnson Shines In Saturday Scrimmage

He’s really, really promising

North Dakota State v Duke
COLUMBIA, SC - MARCH 22: Jordan Goldwire #14 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles up court in the second half of their game against the North Dakota State Bison during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Here’s some scrimmage action from Saturday and some things jumped out at us pretty quickly.

First, Jordan Goldwire has turned himself into not just a good college player but a confident one as well. That really shows now. He clearly belongs and knows it. He’s got some swagger.

Second, Matthew Hurt’s weight lifting has paid off. He’s much bigger. You can really see it in his chest.

Also we were impressed by DJ Steward’s quickness and shooting but he’ll probably need to do some work on his ball handling. It’s adequate but not necessarily superior.

But the thing that really jumps out here, at least to us, is the play of Jalen Johnson. The early buzz is that Hurt is playing best so far. But it doesn’t take long to realize that Johnson has immense potential.

There’s an early dunk that’s casually arrogant. Then check out the pass at 3:45, the play at 4:04 and, most intriguingly to us, the pass by Steward to Johnson at about 4:20.

We could be wrong of course, but we’ve said before that good passing is contagious and our guess is that this is a great example of that, an acknowledgment by Steward that Johnson is a great passer and he wants in on it too.

Then pay attention around 8:32. There’s a jump ball, Wendell Moore makes a nice pass to Goldwire, who quickly flips to Johnson for a dunk.

Lightning strikes again!

From what we’ve seen so far we’d consider him the most NBA-ready guy on the court and also a force multiplier. He’s going to be a ton of fun to watch and if our hunch is correct, he’s going to change this team significantly.