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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / December 15.
  • Vernon Carey Jr. commits to Duke

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Vernon Carey Jr., the 6-foot-10, 260-pound big man out NSU University School (FL) and Nike Team Florida, committed to Duke over Michigan State and North Carolina on Thursday on ESPN.

    Carey announced Thursday because it is the one-year anniversary of the passing of his grandfather.

    “After a lot of consideration, I’ll be attending the Brotherhood,” he said on ESPN.

    Carey is ranked No. 3 in the 2019 ESPN 100 and is the projected No. 22 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, per ESPN.com. He recently cut Miami and Kentucky from his list.

    “The reason why I chose Duke is Coach K and the recruiting class they’re bringing in this year, Wendell Moore and Boogie Ellis and hopefully some guys will come with me,” Carey said on ESPN.

    Carey said he compares himself with former Duke stars Wendell Carter and Marvin Bagley, “those two guys.”

    “They see me as a positionless player, they say that I can be anywhere on the court so that will work well with me,” he said.

    Prior to his decision, a source close to the recruitment said Carey was “really torn” and it was going to be a “photo finish” between Duke and Michigan State.

    Now Duke is getting an impact frontcourt player to come in after Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish all presumably leaving for the NBA Draft.

    “Offensively, he has a very advanced skillset,” University school assistant Jimmy Carr told ZAGSBLOG. “I think he’s going to be a better college player than a high school player, and a better pro than a college player. The way the game is now with big guys having to play away from the basket, he’s worked very hard facing up. He’s a terrific passser. He’s very good going off the dribble. He’s got great feet. He’s a really interesting combination of power and quickness.

    “He’s a unique player, likes to score the ball, has a toughness about him. They’re getting a guy that can put points on the board and just a really, really good person and teammate.”

    Carr said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski personally recruited Carey.

    “When Jeff Capel left the program, Coach K jumped in and he’s handled the recruitment personally, and I think that speaks volumes for Coach K about what he feels about Vern,” Carr said. “And I know that’s impressed the kid and the family.”

    He added: “Without question, he’s an impact kid for the next recruiting class.”

    Meantime, Duke and Michigan State both remain involved for 6-9 big man Isaiah Stewart of La Lumiere (IN) and the Albany City Rocks.

    Stewart told USA Today that Duke commits Ellis and Mooreand Michigan State commit Rocket Watts had all been in his ear about joining them at their respective schools, while he had also talked with uncommitted guys Cole Anthony of Oak Hill Academy (VA) and Jaden McDaniels of Federal Way (WA) about teaming up.

    “Of course the committed guys like Wendell and Boogie and Rocket want me to come to their schools,” Stewart said. “But with the other uncommitted guys we just talk about maybe playing together and what we like about the different schools. I just want to play with the best.”

    With Carey off the board, it won’t necessarily rule Duke out for Stewart, either. So fans of the Blue Devils can dream of a 1-2 punch down low.

    “We can get each other better,” Stewart said. “I played with Vernon at Team USA and I know what type of player he is; we complement each other really well. At the end of the day I’ll make the best decision for me no matter who’s there or who’s coming.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.