Duke basketball: Can Vernon continue to Carey the Blue Devils?

Duke basketball center Vernon Carey Jr. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Duke basketball center Vernon Carey Jr. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

If Vernon Carey Jr. continues to play like anything but a freshman all season, then the Duke basketball team will be a legit contender come March.

Duke basketball’s 6-foot-10, 270-pound monster dominated the paint once again Tuesday night as No. 10 Duke was able to cruise past No. 11 Michigan St., 87-75, on the Spartans’ home court in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Michigan St. was a school that was in the top three for Vernon Carey Jr. and was favored heavily for much of his recruitment. Obviously, due to him choosing Duke, watching the big man bully his way through the paint stung a little more for Spartans fans in this one.

In each of the Blue Devils’ eight wins (8-1), there seems to have been one or two guys who have gone above and beyond to help give them the boost they needed to pull away from their opponents. One player who seems to always be stuffing the stat sheets, however, is Big Vern.

Carey Jr. has scored in double-figures every game and is currently riding a seven-game streak with double-doubles. Simply put, he has been one of the best big men in the country this season, averaging just over 19 points per game and just under 10 rebounds per game — not to mention 2.4 blocks per game.

The five greatest defensive teams under Coach K. light. Trending

I believe one of the biggest advantages of having Carey Jr. down low is watching how he is able to convert while absorbing contact. With his strength and watching him go 9-for-12 from the foul line against the Spartans, there’s not much the man can’t do.

So, of course, Duke fans are loving the lefty from South Florida and what he is doing down low but are wondering if it will be enough to help bring the program a sixth national title.

Although it’s still early in the season, I feel that there are a lot of positives for the Blue Devils as they look ahead to ACC play. With all the attention Carey Jr. draws inside, players are going to be left open. And with the unselfish play he exhibits, he obviously has no problem sharing the load offensively.

The mixtape below only highlights Carey Jr.’s first seven games as the starting Duke basketball center but perfectly sums up his current contributions and potential at the next level:

In my opinion, there are three key factors to keep in mind if a team wants to win a championship. First, the team needs to be great defensively; the players need to be able to own the boards and not allow many second-chance points. Secondly, the team needs a point guard who is a leader, and I don’t think any Duke fan will argue sophomore co-captain Tre Jones isn’t one of the best people to fill that role.

ALSO READ: ESPN instigates an absurd attack on Tre Jones

Finally, the team needs a dominant big man who is a constant problem for defenses, and Carey Jr. is definitely that. I firmly believe this Duke basketball team is more than capable of winning a national championship this season and that Vernon will Carey on.

ALSO READ: Predicted scores of every Duke game this season

The Blue Devils face their first conference foe when they travel to play Virginia Tech (6-2, 1-0 ACC) on Friday at 7:00 p.m. (ACCN).

Trending. Top 100 Duke basketball players under Coach K. light

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more updates, analyses, opinions, and predictions regarding the 2019-20 Duke basketball season.