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.
Wendell Carter Jr. Says Duke Working Hardest, Talks Massive Package Deal
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Duke has huge recruiting momentum here at the Peach Jam.
Many observers feel the Blue Devils are the favorites to land 2016 stars Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles, and Duke is also heavily in the mix with several elite 2017 stars.
The latest player to say so was 6-foot-10 Wendell Carter Jr., who says that Duke is recruiting him the hardest and that he hasn’t heard as much from Kentucky.
If all the dominoes fall for the Devils, Duke’s big men could go from Jahlil Okafor to Chase Jeter to Giles to Carter Jr., with 2018 Marvin Bagley waiting in the wings.
“Probably Duke, they are probably the very top school that’s working the hardest,” Carter Jr. said after putting up 19 points and 6 rebounds in front of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as the Georgia Stars routed the City Rocks, 84-60.
“I hear from them every day, both Coach K and coach [Jeff] Capel.”
He added of Coach K being courtside: “[It means] that he’s very interested in me. It’s very unlikely for the head coach to come to a game, and knowing that they sent the head coach makes me feel kind of special.”
Carter Jr. and fellow U16 gold medalist Gary Trent Jr.had previously discussed a potential Duke package deal with SNY.tv and that is still on.
“Yes,” Carter Jr. said. “It would be pretty good but we’re looking around. We’re looking around.”
Carter Jr. said he has no visits planned but will “probably” take one to Georgia Tech.
“Probably sometime next summer I will take some of my officials,” he said.
As for Kentucky, he recently picked up an offer but Carter Jr. said he’s only heard from them “a little bit.”
“I haven’t heard from them much,” he said. “I hear from them every once in while,” adding that assistant Kenny Payne is his contact.
Asked about the Michael Porter Jr./Trae Young potential package to Duke, Carter Jr. says he’s in touch with those guys, too.
“Yeah, I talk to Mike, I talk to Trae a lot about where they’re going to school,” he said. “I always joke with them, talking about we could all be a good package deal going there. If the cards play that good, I would be real happy.”
So that would be Carter Jr., Porter Jr., Young and Trent Jr.?
“Yeah, that would be crazy,” he said.
It certainly would be.
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.