Duke added to their recruiting riches with the commitment of No. 3 recruit Vernon Carey, Jr.
If you had any doubts about the future of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team once the impressive trio of freshman stars RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish leave for the NBA, let them be remedied: Duke has another star-studded class waiting in the wings, led by No. 3 recruit Vernon Carey, Jr.
Despite the almost-sure departure of the three studs that have taken the NCAA by storm so far this season, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his Duke staff will be well-prepared for next season when the time comes. Duke has the sixth-best recruiting class in the class of 2019, coming at an average rating of .9926 according to 247 Sports.
Recruitment Breakdown: Vernon Carey Jr.
Carey is a 6-foot-10 center with a 7-foot wingspan. Carey, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native sits at a muscular 275 lbs., with surprising speed and athleticism for his size. Let’s break down his commitment.
Carey is the son of former Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Vernon Carey. Jr. gets a lot of his size and athleticism from his dynamic father, and if Carey Jr. weren’t such a prolific basketball player, it could be argued he could make a future as an NFL lineman or tight end thanks to his high-level athleticism.
He ranks as the ninth-best recruit the Duke Blue Devils have ever landed during the time of the current ranking systems, via 247Sports.
High School Performances
Carey Jr. hails out of University School and plays his AAU basketball for Nike Team Florida, and stars at a national level. Most recruiting services rank Carey as the third overall recruit in the class of 2019, and it’s not hard to see why.
Though he has starred heavily in high school at University School (currently ranked No. 1 overall in the state of Florida), Carey Jr. has also starred at a national level. Most recently, the nation got the chance to watch Carey Jr. play against the country’s top players at the Nike Peach Jam over the summer. Carey went head to head at the center position with No. 1 overall recruit James Wiseman. The two matched up heavily and Carey ended the game with a stellar 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Carey averaged 23 points and 10.4 rebounds during the week, also squaring off against highly-touted five-star centers Armando Bacot and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Carey has an Elton Brand style of play. He is a perennial threat on the glass, but can also use plus ball skills and speed to be a threat in the face-up game. He can beat you with his strength, but he can also beat you with a sneaky mix of handles and finishing ability. Not only can Carey score on the inside, but he’s also comfortable stepping outside and knocking down a three. If Carey Jr. lives up to full potential, we could see a Demarcus Cousins offensive style, especially in the face-up.
Carey isn’t a perfect player yet, however, and obviously has some faults. From the tape I’ve seen, especially his senior year and from his AAU games, Carey could do with a bolstering of his mid-range shooting skills, as well as working on conditioning. Carey can hit shots from the outside, as well as being a monster to contain inside, but a consistent mid-range jumper would make sure even more success going forward. He could also use a little work on on-ball defense, especially when facing stretch bigs on the perimeter.
In the U17 World Cup last summer, Carey averaged 11 points and 6.9 rebounds and gained all-tournament honors for his efforts. He was also named the MVP of the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship on a roster that included Carey, among other star prospects from the classes of 2019 and 2020.
By gaining a commitment from Carey, Duke now has three top-100 players in the class of 2019. Duke already has received signed letters-of-intent from 6-foot-5, 210 pound small forward Wendell Moore and 6-foot-2, 165-pound combo guard Boogie Ellis. Moore and Ellis are ranked 24th and 36th overall in the class of 2019, respectively.
Duke could serve to improve their class’s standing even more in the coming months, especially during the late signing period, as there are several high-caliber players uncommitted, including Isaiah Stewart from La Lumiere School in Indiana. Stewart is a five-star center who is ranked as the No. 6 recruit in the nation. Also left on the board is Matthew Hurt, a five-star power forward from John Marshall School in Minnesota, who is currently ranked No. 7 nationally.
Carey Jr. looks like the real deal when it comes to a high-caliber basketball player, and Coach Krzyzewski will be looking to get the most out of him as a freshman before his likely departure for the NBA Draft.