Once again, Coach K and the rest of the Duke staff have been able to secure another top freshman recruit.
Vernon Carey Jr. announced on ESPN's noon SportsCenter from NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that he will be playing for the Blue Devils next year. Carey also had Michigan State and North Carolina in his final three schools.
The 6-foot-10 center is the No. 3 recruit in the ESPN 100 and the second-best at his position behind No. 1 overall James Wiseman, who is committed to Memphis. The lefty has an impressive midrange game from within 15 feet and has been working on his range and face-up game. Built like a traditional old-school center at 275 pounds, Carey can finish with both hands with strong moves and footwork on the block and is a willing passer out of the post.
Son of former NFL offensive lineman Vernon Carey, Carey Jr. has produced at the highest level throughout high school. Playing for Nike Team Florida in the D1 circuit, the Southwest Ranches, Fla., native averaged 19.2 points per game during 19 contests between Nike EYBL and Peach Jam. Carey shot 54.4 percent from the field and displayed a developing shooting stroke, knocking down 33.9 percent of his attempts from deep. He was also a force on the glass and on the defensive end, pulling down 7.9 rebounds and blocking 1.1 shots per game.
Although Zion Williamson is truly a unique player, Carey has displayed a similarly versatile skillset. Boasting a 7-foot wingspan, he can throw down monstrous dunks and is very athletic for his size. He can move his feet on the perimeter and defend the pick-and-roll as well as handle the ball and run the floor in transition.
The commitment is the crown jewel of Duke’s 2019 recruiting class. With the expected departures of Williamson and R.J. Barrett, and Marques Bolden’s and Javin DeLaurier's inconsistency, Carey will immediately shore up the Blue Devils' frontcourt.
With Wendell Moore and Boogie Ellis already committed, Duke’s next two major targets are Isaiah Stewart and Matthew Hurt. Stewart—who also resides in the post—has not ruled out playing with Carey, and if the 6-foot-9 forward eventually commits, look for a similar situation to what Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III provided during the 2017-18 season. Hurt, whose recruitment is more of a mystery, is a prototypical stretch-4 and will visit campus when the Blue Devils take on Virginia in January.