Duke basketball standout makes NBA history before stepping on court

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Duke basketball standout has made NBA history before stepping on the court as a professional.

Despite not having a traditional or expected 2020 NBA Draft for the Duke basketball program, former Blue Devils are still ready to make their presence known at the next level.

National Freshman of the Year Vernon Carey Jr. was shockingly a second-round pick, as were two other Blue Devils, but the Duke center is not letting that get in his way of making NBA history so early in his career.

The Charlotte Hornets, who selected Carey Jr. with the No. 32 overall pick in the draft, have agreed to a four-year deal with their new franchise big man. According to ESPN NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks, the contract is expected to have the most guaranteed money among second-round picks in the 2020 draft class.

Exact numbers on the contract have not become available, but the worth will be around $5 million as the Memphis Grizzlies inked former Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman, a second-round pick, to a $4.6 million guaranteed contract.

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Last season, the Atlanta Hawks agreed to give Maryland forward Bruno Fernando a $4.7 million contract, which was the most guaranteed money for a second-round pick in last year’s draft.

In addition to being the ACC and National Freshman of the Year, Vernon Carey Jr. was also a Second Team All-American, averaging 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in his lone season in Durham.

Carey Jr. shot 57.7 percent from the field, which was the best mark in the conference.

All four draft-eligible Duke basketball players now signed

Entering November’s draft, the Blue Devils had four players available to be selected, and three were in Carey Jr., Tre Jones, and Cassius Stanley.

All three were second-round picks, and senior forward Javin DeLaurier was signed to an Exhibit-10 deal with the Hornets as an undrafted free agent.

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Stanley agreed to a two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers, and Tre Jones inked a three-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs.

All four players will report to their first NBA training camp within the next week before the 2020-21 season tips off on December 22.

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