Duke leading scorer Vernon Carey Jr. chooses to enter NBA draft

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Carey spins to a left-handed finish (0:16)

Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. spins past his defender and finishes with the left-handed layup. (0:16)

Vernon Carey Jr., who led Duke in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots this past season, announced Friday that he would enter the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Carey is the No. 4 center and No. 28 prospect overall of ESPN’s best available prospects.

“I grew as a player and person, and feel prepared to take that next step,” Carey said in a statement announcing his decision. “After an incredible season, I am excited to enter the 2020 NBA Draft. I will always appreciate everyone at Duke who invested their time and energy to make me better — Coach K and our coaches, our entire support staff, our managers, the Cameron Crazies and so many others across campus. Duke is a special place and you already know I will be back soon to catch a game and support my brothers.”

God Bless💙 pic.twitter.com/Gs0kL7riIk

— Vernon Carey Jr. (@vernoncarey22) April 10, 2020

Carey averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks for the Blue Devils and was named the National Freshman of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

“We were honored to have Vernon and his family in our program this season,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “He had an incredible year, being named one of our team’s Most Valuable Players, the National Freshman of the Year and a consensus All-American. I’m am so proud to have had the opportunity to coach such a tremendous young man. He came every day looking to get better, and I know the best is yet to come for him. I want to congratulate Vernon and his family on this decision and wish him nothing but the best as he begins what will be a special NBA career.”

Carey is the third Duke underclassman to enter this year’s draft, joining fellow freshman Cassius Stanley and sophomore Tre Jones. The three players were the only Blue Devils to average double figures in scoring in the 2019-20 season.

He is the son of former Miami Dolphins lineman Vernon Carey.

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