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2020 five-star SF Jalen Johnson commits to Duke

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One of the top Kentucky basketball recruiting targets for 2020 has committed to Duke.

Jalen Johnson, a five-star small forward out of Milwaukee, WI, chose the Blue Devils over Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Arizona this evening.

While the 6-foot-8 forward turned heads this summer when he called Kentucky his “dream school” growing up, Duke has long been seen as the leader in Johnson’s recruitment. Today, he confirmed those rumors.

Kentucky will now turn to the likes of Daishen Nix, Jalen Green, and Brandon Boston Jr. to fill out the 2020-21 backcourt.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

51 responses to “2020 five-star SF Jalen Johnson commits to Duke”

  1. BPatte

    We can’t seem to land a top 10 recruit anymore. I believe they think why should I go to Ky and have to work hard and compete for time when I can go somewhere else and coast!

    1. TonyMontana

      Honestly it’s frustrating and confusing AF

    2. jr

      I agree! It’s been about 5 yrs since we landed one! I mean the pitch coach is using is 8 yrs old! Come on coaches, can’t y’all figure it out that the pitch isn’t working anymore?? Duh….,

  2. ukjaybrat

    The brotherhood? Ask nearly every former duke player and they will tell you the brotherhood is a load of crap. And all the UK players are back all the time. I really don’t get how they are able to sell that every year.

  3. ccat23

    Jack when will the insider notes be coming out ?

  4. CahillsCrossingNT

    Hardly surprising. Duke is the king of recruiting despite their epic failure of the past season.

    1. StuckinLville

      The past 3 seasons have been. All that talent and no final four.

    2. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree

      Money talks.

  5. Cokely53

    Said it before. When they say we are their dream school then you can bet we’re not getting them. That or when the coaches say they feel confident.

  6. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots

    Not getting a top 5 or 10 player again this year or next year. Sorry. Been here on the EYBL since spring 2012 and the UK pitch carries very little with the elite players now especially when they are spreading a very large amount of offers.

  7. 4everUKblue

    Well he’s as good as he’ll get if he’s relying on K to help him get better.

  8. UKinMKY

    Kid looks like a Dukie. Very punchable face.

    1. SuperTroy18

      Ha! Agreed.

  9. VirginiaCat

    There was a time under Cal when I was surprised when we didn’t get a premier recruit. Now I am surprised when we do. K owns Cal and the drought for top five players continues.

    1. 4everUKblue

      Yeah go look up all the top talent he’s had in the last 3 yrs and not even a sniff of the final 4. Cal got just as far as K did with a lot less talent. VaCat why don’t you and mashbum go root for dUKe?

  10. A_Blue_Wildcat

    When was the last time we got a top 3 recruit?

    1. TonyMontana

      Skal Labissiere

    2. mashburnfan1

      Well that should tell us all that ratings mean little in some cases. Skal was not even top 100 talent, he was terrible.

    3. TonyMontana


  11. Kojohnson

    It dont matter, we turn 4 star recruits into stars. Yall complaining about top 10 recruits when we know coach k dont coach. Kids love the appeal of taking all the shots. We don’t do that here

  12. mashman 93

    When was the last time Kentucky got a consensus top five recruit? Skal?

  13. HarlanMan

    Wish Coach Cal would bring Antigua back on board!

    1. Bluehender

      It’s a tired old argument you preach VirginiaCat. Read what Kojohnson says above. K owns Cal? Really? What good did it do him last year? With the “talent” he had, surely was a disappointment for Duke fans..

    2. Bluehender

      Reply not meant for you HarlanMan. Sorry..

    3. HarlanMan

      No problem my friend.

  14. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree

    Wish these kids actually wanted a second contract that was worth something. Cal’s kids get that Count Ketchup’s not so much.

  15. MontyCats

    I humbly think Cal needs to clean house on assistant coaches, I still think recruits love Cal but his assistant coaches are getting demolished. It’s not K, out recruiting Cal directly its the program as a whole.

    I also do not think Cal can win a title with anything less then a “stacked” team. Most fans believe we are in a holding pattern of above average teams with little chance at a title run. If that’s the case, then giving this staff raises every single year seems questionable.

    In college basketball if your not a title contender nothing matters.

    RIP J-Lo

    1. VirginiaCat

      I concur that it seems, lately, we have been in a holding pattern. We are getting good recruits, but not those that are immediate difference makers. Just as our recruits start reaching their potential, they ship off to the NBA, and then the process starts anew. While Cal is happy to tout his success at getting players to the next level, most of us would prefer that he focus on championships. Bringing in quality assistants would help, of course, but Cal is captain of the ship and he seems impervious to change.

    2. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots

      Joel should be going after this year. He has only brought in 3 recruits since he came on- Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, and Johnny Juzang. Barbee is actually the point man for both Maxey and Brooks. Kenny Payne is actually an incredible recruiter, I used to see him and O on the EYBL and coaches, players, and parents all gushed over them then Cal would swoop in and seal the deal. My guess is O still has NCAA allegations from his USF days which is why he hasn’t been back.

    3. rdcore2

      Joel Justus has to go amen. He’s the worst, do you really think these kids are buying into a bald used car salesman looking white guy? Absolutely not. Get rid of him, it ends up coming down to the elite guys going “I gotta be next to this guy all year and hear him tell me what I’m doing wrong? For real?”

      JJ needs out.

  16. Irish son

    Disappointed to say the least

  17. blueforlife

    We want it all. Top three picks every year and a Natty every year, or at least every other year. Maybe it’s the expectations of us fans that’s driving the top players away? I certainly don’t have the answers, but if guessing, I’d say it was because of a weaker group of assistant coaching and a group of fussing fans that bitch nonstop. Personally, I’d like 3-4 top 50 players, one of which leaves after one year and the rest stay for two. I recall us doing really well with two year players…just an opinion though.

  18. nicky

    A nice crib is all it takes….see Zion

  19. UK Maine-iac

    Here’s what happens when you go to Duke: You get the ESPN spotlight, very little criticism from the critics, and the praise of being thought of as an upstanding kid, no matter what you do. Duke reminds me of a country club that doesn’t take well to outsiders.

    At Kentucky: you get hate from Cal’s haters, hate from our stupid fan base, you have to fight for your spotlight instead of being given it, and the critics nitpick everything you do.

    It’s an easy choice for kids who don’t want to have to listen to more hate than love.

    All that negativity aside, with how well Shai and Tyler developed, I’m excited to see how Juzang and Brooks will do this upcoming season.

    1. blueforlife

      Agreed. Our fan base is generating too much hate. The majority of the base loves Cal and loves our players. It’s the vocal minority that deters the top guys from coming. Positivity is the only way we can correct the direction of our culture. It’s all about the culture of our program. Entirely too much hate going on.

    2. njcat54

      Fans have next to zero impact on which school these kids go to. They certainly don’t care what the fans say about the coaches. And most that do come to U.K. think the fans are great.

  20. W F Reserve

    Mama got paid.

  21. VirginiaCat

    I don’t like K or Duke, but facts are facts. Coach K wins a national championship on average, every eight years. Cal, on average, once every 23 years. If you are a top player who wants to win a championship, which coach/program offers you the best chance of a ring?

    1. UKinMKY

      This past season put a nail in the coffin of that narrative to anyone with a brain. Two top 3 picks and couldn’t even make a final four. K has also been at Duke for about 1000 years, so I hope he’d be able to win more frequently with that type of continuity.

    2. 4everUKblue

      That’s not a fair comparison jackass, it sounds exactly like something mashbum would say. Cal has been at UK for 10 yrs while K has been at duke for 39. dUKe was the last blue blood to have 4 yr players, he’s had the most consistently talented teams year in and year out. Until recently he has had hands down the easiest bracket every yr, has had numerous scandals swept under the rug, but don’t take my word, look it up for yourself and ad all that to your facts.

  22. njcat54

    Coach K became the cool coach when he started coaching the national/Olympic team. All the best NBA players love him – particularly LeBron. What NBA players say behind the scenes carries a lot of weight. It’s how Zion and Barrett ended up at Duke.

    Until that Olympic luster wares off, Cal is going to have a lot of difficulty getting top 10 guys. Our only hope is that they start going directly to the draft. When that happens the way Cal developes the top 10-50 ranked players will really start to show.

    1. VirginiaCat

      You make a very good point. What is said behind the scenes holds sway and we are not privy to that verbiage. Coaches, sports personalities, and players are loathe to say anything negative publicly, but it’s what’s said behind closed doors that will either make you or break you. I suspect that if we were behind those closed doors we wouldn’t like what we heard. It helps explain why we are in a drought when it comes to premier players. What they are hearing about Cal and the program is driving them elsewhere.

  23. JT55

    Another victory for Duke over UK. K owns Cal.

    1. 4everUKblue

      And yet K got no further in the tourney than Cal in spite of having what many called the best recruiting class of all time. And if the refs had called it fair and square, K would’ve lost to UCF.

    2. Kerosenerag

      ESPN had them the greatest team of all time….yet K get no further than Cal! This all is about to change when NBA rules change. Cal will still get his!

  24. CarolinaC_A_T

    My question is, how can you call Kentucky your dream school, then go to Duke? That’s like saying, I’m a die hard Kentucky fan, then committing to Louisville…who does that

  25. Racerr11

    Most of are fans are fine with where we are at which is in contention for a title every year. We just have a very small percentage of goofy goofy fans some of who commented above. Believe me they know who they are. The ones who talk the most know the least.

  26. BobbyBlue

    I am more concerned about suddenly Ky is life and death to out recruit a school like Auburn. I mean come on, a cheating flash in the Pan, led by a convicted cheater that had to show cause to be allowed to coach again.
    UK recruiting took a tumble as soon as Antiqua left, and shoes no sign of recovery.

  27. mashman 93

    When we were getting the top recruits we were dominating college basketball going to final fours and won the title. Hell, one year we go to the NIT after losing our best player and yet still the talk of college basketball even though little brother won it all. Since Duke and Coach Dracula took over recruiting Kentucky hasn’t been the same. I truly believe Cal would do better coaching those top tier guys but he can’t seem to beat Coach K to get them. Kentucky fans our spoiled I get it but we need to at least get back to the final four in 2020. Sorry for rant. GO CATS!!!

    1. mashman 93

      are spoiled