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Duke captain Wendell Moore Jr. declares for NBA draft


CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 4: Duke forward Wendell Moore Jr. (0) defends Miami guard Kameron McGusty (23) in the first half as the University of Miami Hurricanes faced the Duke University Blue Devils on January 4, 2019, at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wendell Moore Jr. is the third Duke player this week to announce plans to enter the NBA draft.

The school revealed Moore’s decision Thursday night, saying he would hire an agent. The 6-foot-5, 213-pound junior and potential first-round pick won the Julius Erving Award as college basketball’s top small forward this season.

Ranked as the No. 34 draft prospect by ESPN, Moore showed versatile athleticism that let him play on the ball or as a slasher while routinely taking on top defensive assignments.

“I’ve grown so much over the last three years - experienced highs and lows that will shape me for the rest of my life,” Moore said in a statement. “It has truly been an honor to be a Blue Devil, and although I will miss those moments with my teammates, I will cherish them forever.”

Moore follows 7-foot-1 sophomore Mark Williams and 6-10 star freshman Paolo Banchero into the draft.

Moore averaged career highs of 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists. The team captain also improved his outside shot, shooting 41.3% from behind the arc after shooting 28.3% through his first two seasons. He shot 50% from the field overall.

Moore started all 39 games to help the Blue Devils reach now-retired Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski’s record 13th Final Four while also winning the program’s first outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 2006.

“He was there for us every minute,” Krzyzewski said in a statement, adding: “He will be an immediate asset to an NBA team.”

Prior to this season, Moore - a high school recruit out of Charlotte - etched his name into the lore of the Duke-UNC rivalry as a freshman when he scored on a putback of an airballed jumper as time expired in Duke’s wild overtime victory in February 2020.