‘Was Never Invested’- NCAA Analyst Comments On Whether Jalen Johnson Leaving Makes Duke Blue Devils Better

Published 02/22/2021, 2:00 PM EST
Feb 1, 2021; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jalen Johnson (1) shoots the ball against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Watsco Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


The Duke Blue Devils seem all but set to miss out on the NCAA tournament, barring a massive season comeback. However, they will be making this comeback without mercurial forward Jalen Johnson, who opted out of the final season games to prepare for the NBA Draft.

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NCAA analyst, Jeff Goodman, spoke about the complicated situation around Johnson. When he and co-host Rob Dauster spoke about whether the team would be better without Johnson, Goodman openly spoke his mind.

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“It’s accurate. How about that? It’s not gonna work.”

He added that sources within the organization are happier now that Jalen is gone.

“‘You know what Jalen Johnson? We’re not gonna fight to keep you at this point. We’re going to let you go. We’ve got everybody bought in, and that’s the difference’… This team always felt like Jalen Johnson was never completely invested. He was one foot in, one foot out. He wanted to get to the NBA. Now they feel like, ‘at least if we go down, we’re going to all go down fighting together’.”

Duke Blue Devils: Jalen Johnson’s departure giving them a new boost?

Jan 23, 2021; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville player Carlik Jones drives between Duke Blue Devils guard Jordan Goldwire (14) , Wendell Moore Jr. (0) and Jeremy Roach (3) during an NCAA basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Utterback-USA TODAY Sports

It won’t be hard for the Duke Blue Devils to motivate themselves. They have had a bad season and may miss out on March Madness, not a very common occurrence for one of the greatest NCAA teams of all time. However, the season is tanked and they saw one of their own players leave the team because of a lack of faith.

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The players will definitely be playing with a chip on their shoulder to end the season. Johnson did what is best for him, and that is completely understandable. However, it definitely will serve as some sort of motivational fuel for the squad.

Hopefully, the Blue Devils can at least have a respectable end to their season. This season may serve as a historic aberration for the blue-blood program. However, they have to live in the moment and seem to be making the best of this situation.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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