Duke has six freshmen on this year’s team. Two of them starred in the Blue Devils’ opening game win over Coppin State.
Combination guard DJ Steward scored 24 points to lead the team.
“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Mike Krzyzewski said of Steward. “He or Joey [Baker] could have started, but we started our veterans today, and then we started DJ in the second half. He’s a natural scorer. To come up with 24 points in your first collegiate game, in a pressure game that’s a big-time performance by that kid.”
Jalen Johnson also came up big in his first college game, scoring 19 points. Johnson was expected to put up points, but his 19 rebounds were a surprise to many observers.
“In the last couple of scrimmages, he’s had high double-figure rebounds,” Coach K said. “He had 17 in our last intrasquad scrimmage, and he’s getting stronger with the ball. In congestion, he had seven turnovers. He’s too good of a player. He goes 19 and 19 ... that’s a heck of a first-time performance for anybody but especially a freshman. We just have to be stronger with the ball. The biggest disappointment for me was the turnovers. The turnovers lent itself to not playing as well on the defensive end at times. Jalen did a heck of a job for us. Obviously you get two freshmen with 19 and 24 (total points from Johnson and Steward respectively). I can’t remember when we had a guy with 19 rebounds. He’s shown that in practice.”