Duke Basketball: Five-star C Vernon Carey Jr. to trim list to three this week

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

One of the Duke basketball coaches’ top targets from the 2019 class is inching closer to announcing his college choice but will first put out a list of his final three this week.

A possible reason Duke basketball target Vernon Carey Jr. is planning to cut his list of potential schools to three this week, as he notified his followers via a tweet on Monday, could be just to keep the podium from being overcrowded with hats when he announces his final decision — expected to come by the end of this month.

The move could also just be a kind gesture to not unnecessarily continue feeding the hopes of the coaches and fans of the programs that he has already ruled out in his mind.

Whatever the ultimate reason, Duke coaches and fans have reasons to be optimistic that the Blue Devils will make this next cut.

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First, the Crystal Ball at 247Sports tabs Duke as the leader in the race at the moment (53 percent of the experts predict Carey Jr. to play his college ball in Durham).

Also, with the expected departures from at least the three best players on this year’s squad after the season — freshmen sensations Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish are almost sure to be high lottery picks in the 2019 NBA Draft — the 6-foot-10, 275-pound native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., would likely serve as the centerpiece of the Blue Devils’ 2019-20 roster.

Furthermore, the five-star big man, who ranks No. 2 overall on the 247Sports Composite, appeared to be all smiles last month when he attended Countdown to Craziness during his official visit to Duke.

Carey Jr., who possesses an inside-out game that few former Blue Devils could match, has also taken official visits to Kentucky, Miami, UNC, and Michigan State.

Although he has recently suggested that his final decision will come by the end of this month, he won’t sign a letter of intent until the spring signing period (April 17-May 15).

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The Duke basketball coaches have already received commitments from two 2019 recruits: five-star small forward Wendell Moore, who signed his letter of intent on Friday, and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis, who announced his decision on Nov. 9 and plans to sign his letter of intent later today.

In addition to Carey Jr., offers are still on the table to five-star center Isaiah Stewart, who is ranked No. 5 on the composite rankings and will be on his official visit to Duke this weekend, and five-star forward Matthew Hurt, who is ranked No. 6 and has not yet scheduled any official visits or provided any indication that he is anywhere close to choosing a school.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting updates, analysis, opinions, and predictions.