Duke’s incoming recruiting class ranked third nationally, according to 247Sports. So the Blue Devils are loaded again and widely considered to be a threat to win the national title. But, that said, it should be noted that this is the first time since 2012 that Mike Krzyzewski did not enroll a consensus top-10 prospect — although you would not have been able to tell while watching Duke’s season-opener.
Final score: Duke 81, Coppin State 71.
So, yeah, the game was closer than it should’ve been — but don’t blame Jalen Johnson. The 6-foot-9 freshman, who was ranked 13th in the Class of 2020, took eight shots, made all eight of them, and finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in 35 minutes. His 15 defensive rebounds set a single-game record for Duke freshmen. His 19 points are the most ever for a Duke freshman while shooting 100% from the field. And he’s just the third Duke freshman to ever record a double-double in a debut.
“This has always been a dream of mine — so I finally got a chance to live out that dream today,” Johnson said after the win. ” Everything went how we wanted.”
DJ Steward was also great.
The 6-2 freshman, who was ranked 26th in the Class of 2020, finished with 24 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench. It was the most points a Duke freshman has ever scored off the bench in a debut.
“I’m not really surprised by their performances because I’ve seen it since August,” said Duke sophomore Wendell Moore, who finished with 13 points and four rebounds. “DJ can really score the ball — and he really showed that tonight, being open and in the right spot at all times and ready to shoot the ball. He was aggressive in the lane. And Jalen — that’s just Jalen being himself. He’s grabbing the defensive board and going [and] making plays for himself, for others. Those two are a great addition to our team.”
Duke is No. 6 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Blue Devils’ next game is Tuesday against Michigan State. Elsewhere in the Top 25 And 1, Virginia Tech jumped from unranked to No. 12 after Saturday’s 81-73 victory over Villanova. That pushed West Virginia, Virginia, Houston, Texas Tech, North Carolina, Ohio State, Texas, Oregon, Rutgers and Indiana down one spot each, no fault of their own.
Itching for more college hoops analysis? Listen below and subscribe to the Eye on College Basketball podcast where we take you beyond the hardwood with insider information and instant reactions.
Top 25 And 1 rankings