Duke Basketball: Vernon Carey Jr. puts on show at holiday tournament

Vernon Carey Jr., Duke basketball (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Vernon Carey Jr., Duke basketball (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

On Tuesday night, the Duke basketball program’s prized 2019 recruit let spectators see why he deserves all the hype.

Sorry, you have to wait until next fall to witness five-star center Vernon Carey Jr. play while donning a Duke basketball jersey.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use highlight clips of the Blue Devils’ latest and highest-ranked 2019 commit in order to enhance your visions of what it will look like when he does finally display his skills in Durham.

The 6-foot-10, 275-pound five-star bruiser from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., verbally committed to Duke earlier this month, joining a class that already included five-star small forward Wendell Moore and four-star combo guard Boogie Ellis.

And on Tuesday night, he scored 35 points during his University School’s opening-round 96-69 win against Vashon High School at the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers. He did so while shooting 15-for-19 from the field and only playing 22 minutes. He also came down with 13 rebounds.

Enjoy these highlights, courtesy of Courtside Films, from Carey Jr.’s performance:

As you can see, whether he receives a pass, snags a loose ball, or collects an offensive rebound in the paint, unlike current Duke big men Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, he doesn’t take a moment to gather his body and thoughts. Instead, he just makes something happen right away — often resulting in an emphatic dunk.

And as any experienced Duke fan knows, decisive and strong movements toward the basket are what separate the Blue Devils’ all-time best paint prowlers from the rest.

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It also doesn’t hurt that his handles are equal to those of most guards and his shooting touch around the rim resembles that of former Duke star Elton Brand.

Carey Jr., who is ranked No. 2 on the 247Sports Composite and appears destined to be the next great big man for the Blue Devils, will next appear when his team takes on Imhotep Charter School at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the tournament, which concludes on Saturday night.

If you want to watch his next game live — you probably don’t since No. 2 Duke will be playing No. 12 Texas Tech in Madison Square Garden on ESPN2 at the same time — or any of his other games the rest of the week, you can pay to stream it by subscribing to FloHoops.

Or if you are in the area, you can pay to attend the tournament, which is taking place at Florida Southwestern State College and features a slew of talented prospects, including Oak Hill Academy’s Cole Anthony — a former Duke target who is ranked No. 3 and may end up committing to UNC. Carey Jr. would face Anthony at 7:15 p.m. on Friday if both of their teams win their next game.

According to 247Sports, the Blue Devils’ 2019 class currently ranks No. 6.

The Duke coaches still have an offer on the table to another sensational 2019 center, five-star Isaiah Stewart (ranked No. 6). Also, they are still in the race for a gifted power forward who plays more like a wing, five-star Matthew Hurt (ranked No. 7), who will be on his official visit to the Durham campus the weekend of Jan. 19.

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