Jaylen Blakes officially signed with Duke, meaning coach Mike Krzyzewski was allowed to talk about the newest Blue Devil.
"We are getting a winner with Jaylen Blakes," he said. "He is a versatile guard that can score and defend, and we're certainly thrilled to have him in our program. Jaylen comes from a great family and played for one of the great programs in the northeast in Blair Academy that he helped lead to a state title 2019."
Blakes, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder from Blairstown, NJ’s Blair Academy, chose Duke over Boston College, Connecticut, DePaul, East Carolina, Georgetown, Georgia, Harvard, Illinois, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, St. John's, Stanford, Texas, and Virginia Tech, among others.
The Blue Devils, who lost four-year senior point guard Jordan Goldwire to transfer and rising sophomore DJ Steward to the NBA Draft, were looking to add depth in the backcourt, alongside returning sophomore Jeremy Roach and incoming freshman Trevor Keels.
Duke became involved with Blakes late, making a scholarship offer a week ago, a move that changed Blakes’ college choice significantly.
“I was extremely grateful and blessed to receive an offer, especially from a prestigious school like Duke,” Blakes told the media. “My family was with me on the Zoom call with Coach K and his staff, and we were just all thankful and grateful that we received that opportunity. I was thankful for all the other offers, but I was especially thankful for this one.”
Blakes played with redshirt sophomore Keenan Worthington, a walk-on at Duke, in high school. Duke’s relationship with Blair Academy goes back nearly two decades, when Luol Deng went from that school to the Blue Devils’ team. His coach at Blair Academy told the New Jersey media that Blakes compares to Deng as two of the hardest workers he’s seen.
Blakes senior year was limited to two games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he averaged 18.1 ppg and four assists as a junior and hit 35 percent from three.