Duke Basketball: Five-star 2019 C Vernon Carey Jr. commits to Blue Devils

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

The Duke basketball program received a verbal commitment on Thursday from its 25th five-star recruit this decade, also marking the ninth commitment since 2010 from a prospect who is among the top three in his class on the composite ranking.

As a lifelong Duke basketball fan who relishes the moment any future-boosting talent commits to play for the Blue Devils — no matter how often it happens — writing the headline for this article gave me goosebumps. And for that reason, I’m asking that you bear with me as I take the time to enjoy rephrasing this news in several different ways:

  • Five-star 2019 center Vernon Carey Jr. joins #TheBrotherhood
  • Vernon Carey Jr. taking his otherworldly talents to Durham
  • Top center Vernon Carey Jr. announces he will play for Coach K
  • Feel the Vern, Vernon Carey Jr. puts a cherry on top of Duke’s 2019 class
  • Vernon Carey Jr. coming to Duke, more top 10 talents may follow
  • Blue Devils beat out UNC, Michigan St. for services of Vernon Carey Jr.

That last one felt the sweetest to type. But that’s enough grin-inducing headlines  — for now.

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The commitment from Carey Jr., who made the announcement live on ESPN Thursday afternoon from his NSU University School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., marks the fifth straight year that the Blue Devils have snagged at least one of the top three recruits in the country.

The 6-foot-10, 275-pound son of a former NFL offensive tackle (his dad played eight seasons for the Miami Dolphins) is ranked No. 2 on the 247Sports Composite and is only expected to spend one season in college.

His massive frame and polished skills in the paint, which appear to resemble those of former Duke basketball great Elton Brand, are likely to make him the focal point of the offense next season — three, possibly four, of the Blue Devils’ current freshmen starters are NBA-bound after this season. Also, for a big man, he has a smooth outside shot and nifty handles in the open court.

In case you don’t spend much time on YouTube and have never seen Carey Jr. play, here is a mixtape — courtesy of Courtside Films — from this past summer:

Now envision that guy doing all that — and more — in a Duke jersey.


Don’t know about you, but I feel a wave of relief washing away any worries that I had about the talent level on the roster for next season. Although it will be a sad day when Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and (probably) Tre Jones leave Durham after this season, it is comforting to know that a happy day will soon follow when Carey Jr. arrives on campus.

Adding to that comfort, in addition to Carey Jr., Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff have received commitments from five-star small forward Wendell Moore (ranked No. 24 on the composite ranking) and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis (ranked No. 36), both of whom signed a letter of intent last month.

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Coach K and Co. are also waiting on the decisions of two other top 10 recruits: center Isaiah Stewart (ranked No. 6), who has said he wouldn’t mind playing alongside Carey Jr. and could announce his college choice at any time, as well as forward Matthew Hurt (ranked No. 7), who has scheduled an official visit to Duke for the weekend of Jan. 19 but isn’t expected to make up his mind until the spring.

Also, despite not offering him a scholarship as of yet, Duke has landed on the list of the final eight schools being considered by five-star shooting guard Anthony Edwards, who recently reclassified to 2019 and is ranked No. 4 overall.

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