Is it seriously possible Duke basketball’s Vernon Carey Jr. goes undrafted?
Chalk it up to mock-drafters gone mad from having to update their draft boards five more months than usual this go-round. Indeed, that’s the only reasonable explanation for why anyone would project a Duke basketball one-and-done who was the NABC Freshman of the Year to be on the verge of falling outside both rounds come Wednesday’s NBA Draft.
Surely, the antiquated stigma of Duke big men underperforming in the NBA isn’t rearing its ugly head again. Or maybe it is. If so, Carey Jr. may mirror Blue Devil big man Carlos Boozer, who came off the board surprisingly late at No. 36 in 2002 but then used doubt as fuel on his way to becoming a two-time All-Star and averaging double-figure points in all 13 of his seasons.
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Surely, the fact that Carey Jr.’s wingspan is only an inch or two greater than his height isn’t a total deal-breaker for certain franchises. Or maybe it is. If so, one would think somebody might be impressed by a 6-foot-10 grown man proving dedicated enough to drop some 30 pounds since last season despite having used his old frame to play in all 31 games for a 25-6 Duke team…