Duke Basketball: Vernon Carey Jr. may commit earlier than once expected

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

By the middle of November, the Duke basketball coaches could receive a commitment capable of instantly taming fans’ recruiting concerns.

There is no former Duke basketball player to compare him to. No, the talents and physique of five-star 2019 center Vernon Carey Jr. — who will be on his official visit with the Blue Devils at the same time as Countdown to Craziness on Oct. 19 — are too unique for simple comparisons.

At first glance, the 6-foot-10, 275-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., looks like he belongs either on the gridiron or inside the ropes of a boxing ring. But when watching him on a basketball court, it’s easy to see why the 247Sports Composite lists the brawny bruiser as the No. 2 overall prospect in his class.

Carey Jr. is more than strong enough to compete in the paint, no matter the opponent. And he’s plenty gifted enough to shoot from the perimeter and even handle the ball as if he is a point guard.

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But will Duke fans have the opportunity to see his talents on display as a Blue Devil?

Well, the answer to that may come sooner than originally thought. During the summer, Carey Jr. mentioned on multiple occasions that he would like to choose a program by his birthday in February. This week, though, he suggested that the timeline has changed.

“After I take my officials, I’ll probably get my decision over with,” Carey said on Saturday, according to Jason Jordan of USA Today High School Sports. “I should know by then. My goal is to sign during the early signing period.”

The early signing period is Nov. 14 through Nov. 21, which falls just after his official visits to the final five schools on his list. Next weekend, Carey Jr. will begin a string of five visits in five weeks — to Kentucky starting Oct. 12, to Duke starting Oct. 19, to Miami starting Oct. 26, to UNC starting Nov. 2, and to Michigan State starting Nov. 9.

The Crystal Ball at 247Sports currently lists Duke as the favorite with 46 percent of the experts predicting he will land in Durham.

So if Duke does have commitments from Carey Jr. and five-star forward Wendell Moore — 100 percent of the experts at the Crystal Ball are now predicting he will choose the Blue Devils during his announcement ceremony on Monday — the program’s 2019 recruiting class would no longer look anywhere near as bleak as it did in recent weeks.

Instead, if Duke does receive early signings from both Moore and Carey Jr. next month, the class would go from empty — as it currently stands — to ranking as one of the nation’s best.

Next. What to expect when Duke faces UK on Nov. 6. dark

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