Duke Basketball: Blue Devils make final three of five-star Vernon Carey Jr.

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

The Duke basketball coaches are one step closer to possibly picking up their first commitment from a top-five prospect in the 2019 class.

With about a minute remaining in the Duke basketball team’s 89-87 loss to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational on Wednesday night, five-star 2019 center Vernon Carey Jr. announced through a video on social media the final three schools on his list: Duke, UNC, and Michigan State (Miami and Kentucky are the two schools he cut).

The timing of his tweet seemed a bit odd.

Maybe he wasn’t watching the much-hyped game between the Blue Devils and Bulldogs that came down to the final possession. Or maybe he was tuned in, sensed Duke wouldn’t win, and purposefully provided Dukies with a piece of positive news because he intends to soon join #TheBrotherhood.

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Let’s just assume it’s the latter.

As it stands, though, Duke is not yet the winner of the race for the 6-foot-10, 275-pound native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. However, the 247Sports Crystal Ball has tabbed the Blue Devils as the favorite since the summer. Currently, 53 percent of the experts are predicting he will end up in Durham. Of course, it should be noted that none of the experts have updated their picks since he put out his latest list and 20 percent still predict he will end up at Miami (obviously no longer a possibility).

Carey Jr., an inside-out big man with a burly frame and polished overall game, is ranked No. 2 overall on the 247Sports Composite. He could, however, drop a spot in the rankings soon as five-star guard Anthony Edwards announced this week that he is reclassifying from 2020 to 2019 — it is expected that several recruiting sites will rank the high-flying phenom No. 1 in the class (Duke has not yet offered Edwards a scholarship but has shown interest in him in the past).

It is possible Carey Jr. could wait until the spring to announce — the fall signing period came to an end yesterday — but he has indicated in the past that he will likely make up his mind shortly after taking his official visits, which he wrapped up earlier this month (he was at Duke the weekend of Oct. 19 and attended Countdown to Craziness).

Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff thus far have commitments from two 2019 recruits, five-star small forward Wendell Moore (ranked No. 23) and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis (ranked No. 35), both of whom have signed a letter of intent.

In addition to Carey Jr., the coaches are waiting on the decisions of two other 2019 five-stars: center Isaiah Stewart (ranked No. 5), who is also expected to soon announce, and power forward Matthew Hurt (ranked No. 6), who has not yet scheduled any official visits and is not expected to make his college choice until the spring.

At the moment, Duke’s class ranks No. 27 in the country, according to 247Sports.

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