Jalen Johnson caused a stir in the college basketball community on Monday when the Duke freshman announced he was leaving the team, focusing on his health, and preparing for the 2021 NBA draft. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski and his players have endorsed Johnson, but critics have even labeled him a quitter.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim seems to be leaning towards the latter group. During his weekly radio show, the 76-year-old stated that Johnson “injured” Duke and that the team is “much better now without him”.
“He just did a few things and kept other people from playing well,” said Boeheim. “They’ve got two monster wins since he left and they play good basketball. They’re very talented. They knew they’d play out of this and now they’re playing well.”
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ESPN analyst Jay Bilas heard what Boeheim (and others) had to say and felt the need to shout out what he thought were “inappropriate” comments with some not-so-subtle undertones.
“The idea of that kind of [Duke is] Better without Jalen Johnson, I think, is obviously wrong, “said Bilas on the show” Bald Men on Campus “on Friday.” But the other thing that bothers me, and that’s not just Jim Boeheim. . . The idea of his family being viewed as “camp” has undertones that are really troubling. You know, [Iowa star] Luka Garza, we have all these reports about Luka Garza and his parents, his father trained him and is very involved. Jalen Johnson has two parents and has consulted his parents on this decision. And his parents looked after Herzog as much as he did.
“Kind of like the idea that if he really took care of his health he’d stay at Duke Medical Center like it was just one thing and they don’t have doctors where he lives. If he goes for his draft status, he should stay isolated as it looks – I don’t buy anything from it. “
Jalen Johnson does not have a “camp”, “people in ear” or “group”. He has a family. He has a mother and a father who help him make decisions. We may differ in the decision, but the undertones of criticism of Johnson are worrying. pic.twitter.com/icKqC9u0Cp
– Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 19, 2021
Bilas noted that Boeheim had a similar harsh reaction when former Georgetown security guard James Akinjo left the program in 2019. (He eventually ended up in Arizona.) Boeheim ripped off Akinjo for “wouldn’t pass the ball to anyone,” a claim that it wasn’t. This is backed up by the fact that Akinjo averages 5.1 assists over 40 games with the Hoyas. Boeheim’s assessment of Duke’s “monster victories” is also questionable, as those wins were against NC State and Wake Forest, two of the worst teams in the ACC.
There’s a fair way in Bilas’ mind to have a conversation about players switching or signing out – what Boeheim did was different.
“There are legitimate things we can talk about,” said Bilas. “The idea, was that best for his draft status? He’s going to have to answer these questions to the NBA. Maybe it would be better for him to stick it out and play. I don’t know the answer to that. We can discuss that.
“But attacking the player, I thought, was inappropriate for Jim Boeheim, and it was inappropriate for other commentators to say similar things. It has some undertones that I don’t like at all and I think they should be called out.”
In 13 games with Duke, Johnson averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. It is widely viewed as a potential lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft.
“I appreciate everything about my time at Duke,” Johnson said in connection with Monday’s announcement. “Coach K, my teammates and the program have only supported me this season, especially during my foot injury rehab. My family, coach and I made the decision not to play for the rest of this season so that I can.” be 100 percent healthy in preparation for the NBA draft.
“It wasn’t easy, but we believe it’s for the best for my future. I have nothing but love for the Brotherhood and I thank my teammates and everyone connected to the program. Duke will always have a special place in my heart and always be part of it. ” me.”