Duke University has produced several notable basketball talents in the world today. Kyrie Irving, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson are just a few of the many NBA players that got their start at Duke. And now there is a new Duke star entering the NBA; Vernon Carey Jr.
Carey Jr. played at center for Duke. In the previous season, he averaged 17 points, 9 rebounds, and a block per game. He has flown slightly under the radar among his fellow draft class members.
Duke’s legendary Coach K spoke to Grant Hill about Vernon Carey Jr. On the subject of his comparison, Coach K warned against early comparisons for the Duke player. “He has become a much better passer. I don’t know who I’d compare him to because if you start doing that you start pigeonholing him. He’s 18-19, let him become who he is.”
With any prospective rookie, understanding his ability and positional play is supremely important. Coach K talks about what Carey can bring to the table, especially as a versatile center. “But he can be that mobile big in a five out. You could actually not have him in the reach spot right near the bucket at the base line. He can face. He can pick and pop, he doesn’t just have to pick and roll.”
Coach K on Carey Jr. Comparisons
As a prospective draft player, comparisons to other NBA players is inevitable. Vernon has been compared with notable Duke alumni such as Jahlil Okafor and Marvin Bagley III. But his coach shuts down those comparisons.
“I like his versatility but it’s tough. We get asked a lot by the NBA teams ‘You had Okafor, you had Wendell Carter, you had Bagley’ and I said ‘Thank god, you have more of those guys?’ And ‘Is he like them?’. He’s not like any of them. Especially Wendell, those guys never faced the basket. He’s the best low post player in college. Wendell was learning that. Vernon already has that. He’s not the athlete Bagley is but he’s his own guy. He’s in that mix is what I’m trying to say.”
Coach K doubled down on the uniqueness of Vernon Carey Jr., saying that he is completely different from other Duke centers that entered the league. “He’s different but people like to say, ‘He’s like Okafor. And as a kid, he is. They’re unbelievable workers. But as a player, they’re both very different.”
Vernon Carey Jr. is one of several players looking to make their way into the NBA. He will find out his future team on Wednesday, November 18th at the 2020 NBA Draft.
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