Duke Basketball: Vernon Carey Jr. visit could lead to quick commitment

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Countdown to Craziness has a reputation for being a reliable recruiting tool, and this year’s version could seal the deal with the highest-ranked prospect on the Duke basketball coaches’ wish list.

Unless someone who forgot to RSVP makes a surprise appearance, three potential Blue Devils — one from the 2019 class and two from 2020 — will be in attendance to watch the introduction of the 2018-19 Duke basketball team at Friday night’s Countdown to Craziness.

Although the experience will play an important role in persuading 2020 studs Jalen Johnson and B.J. Boston to call Durham their future home — if only for one school year — expect the Cameron Crazies to chant “We want Carey” the loudest and most often.

Five-star 2019 center Vernon Carey Jr. — ranked No. 2 overall in his class on the 247Sports Composite — will likely start the event sitting behind the team’s bench; however, expect the students on the other side of the court to invite him to sit with them (as has become a tradition with recruits in attendance). When the 6-foot-10, 275-pound center from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., accepts that invitation, expect the moment to feel as if he is officially joining the family.

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While it would be unprecedented if Carey Jr. officially committed to Duke right then and there, there is reason to be optimistic that the announcement of his final decision — could come as soon as next week and likely no later than the middle of November — will mean #TheBrotherhood has to make room for its newest member.

And he may turn out to be the most talented center to ever join the club. Needless to say, Carey Jr., the son of a former NFL offensive tackle, would be a huge addition — literally and figuratively — to the Blue Devils’ 2019 recruiting class.

As for comparisons to the two most recent big men to play for Duke, he’s much bulkier than Marvin Bagley III, yet his mobility doesn’t suffer as a result. And his offense is more potent than Wendell Carter Jr., yet his defense is certainly not a weakness.

The Crystal Ball at 247Sports continues to suggest that Duke leads the race with half of the 14 experts currently predicting he will end up in Durham. There are three picks for Miami, two for Michigan State, one for Kentucky, one for “undecided” and zero for North Carolina (the fifth school remaining on his list). His last two official visits are set to come next weekend to Miami and the following weekend to UNC (it’s possible he will feel no need to take those after his mind is blown by his visit to Duke this weekend).

If head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff are able to add Carey Jr. to their list of 2019 commits — five-star forward Wendell Moore is currently lonely as the only one thus far — they would possess a top 10 class even if they failed to add another recruit after Carey Jr.

But in order to add Carey Jr., the coaches may need a strong closing argument that only the crowd at Countdown to Craziness can best articulate with the three simple words “We want Carey” shouted in unison loud enough to make Cameron Indoor Stadium shake.

In addition to Carey Jr., the Blue Devils still have outstanding offers extended to 2019 five-stars Cole Anthony, Isaiah Stewart, and Matthew Hurt, as well as four-star guard Boogie Ellis.

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