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For Jalen Johnson, The Word “Risk” Has Become Unavoidable

We’ll see soon how his decision to leave Duke early has helped our hurt his draft prospects

Duke v Miami
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 01: Jalen Johnson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the basket against Nysier Brooks #3 of the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Watsco Center on February 01, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Here’s a San Antonio site asking the question: is Jalen Johnson worth the risk?

And what’s the risk?

It’s a tag on Johnson, whether it’s fair or not, that he’s not reliable, that he’s a quitter.

This is because he left Duke after just 13 games but remember that he also came to Durham with some of those same questions.

We all saw glimpses of brilliance, but we also saw erratic play and some softness.

There’s no question about his talent though. The guy is definitely gifted. But leaving Duke early may have caused him some problems. Even though the idea was to prep for the draft, the best way to make a case for yourself to be be valuable at draft time is lots of court time. And for 40+ years, Mike Krzyzewski has pushed and cajoled his players to play hard and strive for excellence.

It’s hard to make that case for Johnson, if only because no one has seen him do anything, and the sample size was inconsistent and until he proves he has the desire to excel, the questions are going to continue.

He’ll get drafted for sure, but he may have cost himself a lot of money.