Another year, another new crop of men's basketball players coming to Durham. In this series, we will analyze film on each of Duke’s signees and transfers for the 2020-21 season. Previous film rooms include Jalen Johnson, DJ Steward, Jeremy Roach, Mark Williams, Patrick Tapé and Henry Coleman III. Let’s continue with Jaemyn Brakefield.
As the Blue Devils return to campus, new faces are looking to make a name for themselves. Among these newcomers is Jaemyn Brakefield of Huntington Prep School. Brakefield is a 6-foot-8 power forward who is certain to be an all-around asset for Duke.
The Menasha, Wisc., native can thrive at any point on the floor thanks to his far reaching skillset. As a power forward, Brakefield found success by attacking the rim and staying at the ready for rebounds and putbacks. Over his senior year, he averaged 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Another strength of Brakefield’s is his court vision. Whether he’s staring down the defense directly or backing someone down in the post, he always seems to know where an opportunity awaits. In Duke’s lineup, this strength will be useful as the ball works around the arc to find Brakefield. There is no shortage of playmakers on this year’s lineup, but having one on the wing or in the post will be a valuable asset for Duke. He is an expert at getting where he needs to be to make a play, whether that be a rebound, put back, or a block.
While his home is on the wing and high post, Brakefield is comfortable and confident from deep. Duke’s gameplan in recent years has involved shooting options from all over the floor and Brakefield’s three-point touch will force defenders to stay on their toes. In addition, he is extremely comfortable with the ball for someone of his height. From complicated ball handling to no look passes, Brakefield checks all the boxes for a point guard, with the added benefit of a few extra inches.
Given Brakefield’s versatile offensive skillset, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he can guard just about any position on defense. His athleticism allows him to keep up with the fastest and most agile of guards as well as stronger forwards. If he can get in position fast enough, it’s likely he’ll get a block on any player under the rim.
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For the moment, his greatest weakness is physique, which can fortunately be fixed by some time in the gym. In high-school, he was able to push around other players in the paint to get layup opportunities, but college players may be more than he can handle at 215 lbs. Duke’s training staff will need to help him tack on some pounds while not losing any of the agility that got him this far.
While most schools would be playing Brakefield for as many minutes as possible, Duke’s current roster won’t be so accommodating for him. Duke boasts the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation and is the only team with four 5-star recruits. This places the 4-star Brakefield at a clear disadvantage, but not one he can’t overcome. Brakefield has the skills to be an immediate asset and the potential for dramatic improvement.