Duke’s 2020 freshman class ranks third in the country, and consists of six players. All six rank among the top 55 players in the freshman class, making it a deep, talented class that should keep Duke in the national title conversation for years to come. Here’s a quick look at all six of the Duke freshmen…
Johnson, the highest rated member of Duke’s 2020 recruiting class, is a five star point forward. The primary thing that stands out when watching Johnson play is his versatility. At 6’8’’ he handles the ball like a guard, passes at an extremely high level, can play both on the perimeter and in the post, and is extremely athletic. His jump shot is still a work in progress, yet he still finds a way to dominate offensively. He’s able to get down hill on dribble drives, and hit the occasional mid range jumper. He’s at his best in transition where he’s really able to showcase his athleticism. At Duke, Johnson figures to be the centerpiece of the offense, and an eventual one and done.
DJ Steward’s role as a freshman at Duke will most likely be pretty straightforward; score. That’s what the five star combo guard does best, and it’s what has his name appearing in early 2021 NBA mock drafts. Steward has touch, and scoring instincts from all three levels which allows him to put up points in bunches. His jump shot has limitless range, he’s a creative scorer from inside the arc, and just an overall bucket getter. While he isn’t a pure point guard, Steward can still take over primary ball handling duties. He figures to be a very important piece for Duke next season, and one of the top scorers on the roster.
Roach was the first player to commit to Duke in the 2020 class, and was an important part in bringing the rest of the class together. His role on the court will be extremely important as well, as Roach is likely to start at point guard from day one. Roach should have little trouble adjusting to the college game; poise was one of his calling cards in high school. The five star point guard also provides toughness, leadership, high level perimeter defense, and playmaking. And while Roach isn’t yet appearing on many 2021 NBA mock drafts, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see him leave for the NBA after one season at Duke.
Mark Williams saw his stock rise as much as any player in the 2020 class over the last few months. He went from being ranked in the 40’s or 50’s by most major recruiting services prior to his senior season at IMG Academy to now being ranked as high as 18 by 247sports. This rise in the rankings is primarily due to his emergence as a dominant defensive force. Williams has emerged as one of the premier shot blockers in the entire class. On top of his shot blocking ability, Williams also runs the floor really well for a seven footer, and has a rapidly improving mid range jump shot. At Duke, Williams will be relied upon more for his defense than offense, and should be the starting center from day one.
Much like Jalen Johnson, one of Brakefield’s calling cards is his versatility. The lefty forward can really do a little bit of everything on a basketball court. He’s a pretty solid three point shooter, he handles and passes the ball well for someone of his size, and he’s able to guard multiple positions defensively. In a loaded frontcourt next season at Duke, opportunities will be hard to come by. But, when opportunities do arise, expect Brakefield to be ready to step in and make an impact.
Henry Coleman is the lowest ranked player in Duke’s six man recruiting class, yet he’ll still be an important part of what Duke does both right now and long term. First off, Coleman is a physical specimen. He’s listed at 6’8’’ 240 lbs., and is extremely strong. He runs well, he can jump, and he’s a physical player. He’s certainly college ready from a physical standpoint. Outside of that, Coleman is also a strong rebounder, and a tough defender. He’ll more than likely be a glue guy as a freshman, but later down the road I could see him being a star for Duke.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @OTHDuke for all of your Duke Basketball news, and content!