Exclusive: Duke’s Jalen Johnson withdraws from school

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Steve Wiseman
·2 min read
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A week after he announced he would no longer play for Duke this season, Jalen Johnson is no longer a Duke student and has been removed from the team’s roster, The News & Observer has confirmed.

The 6-9 freshman forward declared for the NBA draft on Feb. 15 after he and his family consulted with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Johnson remained on the team’s roster and was listed in the game program for Monday night’s 85-71 win over Syracuse.

But he’s since withdrawn from school, Mike DeGeorge, Duke’s executive director of communications told the N&O. Doing so ahead of the school’s March 24 deadline for undergraduates allowed Johnson to leave school with a W, or withdrawn, on his academic record rather than an F. That means Johnson, having completed his course work in the fall semester, is leaving Duke in good academic standing and will not hurt the program’s Academic Progress Rate score with the NCAA.

The team’s online roster on Thursday showed Johnson had been removed.

As is the case with all players, Johnson will continue to have access to Duke’s medical staff, both physical and behavioral health services, until he signs with an agent.

When Johnson announced he wouldn’t play any more games for Duke, Krzyzewski said he was supportive of the move.

“Our team loves Jalen,” Krzyzewski said on Feb. 17. “He’s a brother to these guys. For Jalen and his family, they were great – we talked. I’m a coach because of players, and these kids should have the choice to do whatever they want. We’re going to give them our guidance and talk to them about it, and then I’m 100 percent behind him. Our guys have followed up with that too. Especially with the pandemic, these guys have really gotten close. They haven’t been able to make friends anywhere else, so they’ve really developed a family atmosphere. We’re all supportive of Jalen and his family.”

A five-star recruit from Milwaukee, Johnson arrived at Duke with great fanfare. He was voted preseason all-ACC last fall before he’d played a game for the Blue Devils.

While missing three games and most of a fourth in December and January due to a foot injury, Johnson played in 13 games for Duke with eight starts. He averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

He played his last game on Feb. 13 when Duke beat N.C. State 69-53. Johnson did not start and played just eight minutes.

Johnson is projected to be a first-round pick in this summer’s NBA draft. Many draft analysts have him pegged to be selected in the lottery portion of the first round.