Projected top-10 pick Jalen Johnson opts out of Duke season

Duke freshman forward and projected lottery pick Jalen Johnson has opted out for the remainder of the college basketball season, Jacob Polacheck and Adam Zagoria of report.

The 6’9” Johnson is currently ranked No. 6 on ESPN’s Best Available list for this year’s draft. He’s the top-ranked small forward and ESPN’s Mike Schmitz writes that Johnson has an impressive combination of strength and explosiveness and is an extremely versatile defender.

The one-and-done prospect has appeared in 13 games this season, including eight starts, with averages of 11.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 BPG and 1.2 SPG in 21.4 MPG. He missed three games with a foot injury.

Johnson cleaned out his locker on Monday morning, according to ZagsBlog’s sources. Duke’s unusually ordinary season — the Blue Devils are 8-8 overall — and Johnson’s declining minutes may have contributed to his decision.

Johnson had a monster game against Pittsburgh last month — 24 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks — but his playing time had dropped dramatically in recent games. He played only 15 minutes against Notre Dame on Tuesday and eight minutes against North Carolina State on Saturday.

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