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Duke big man Vernon Carey Jr. declares for NBA draft

Duke v Wake Forest

WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Vernon Carey Jr. #1 of the Duke Blue Devils during the first half during their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at LJVM Coliseum Complex on February 25, 2020 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

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And now three Duke players are testing the NBA draft waters. Point guard Tre Jones is in, as is athletic wing Cassius Stanley.

Now big man Vernon Carey Jr. announced he is in as well.

“We were honored to have Vernon and his family in our program this season,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a released 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.”

Carey averaged 17.8 points on 57 percent shooting and pulled down 8.8 rebounds a game this season.

Carey is projected as a late first- or early second-round pick in this draft. He’s a strong, bruising scorer in the post and around the basket who lost weight this season. However, as NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster asked on our recent podcast looking at draft prospects:

“He’s not a guy that is really gonna space the floor. He’s not a guy that is gonna defend on the perimeter. He’s not really a guy that can protect the rim. If you can’t do those things where is your value in the modern NBA?”

The 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 25, although teams have asked the league to push back that date into August. Players can enter the draft and, if they don’t sign with an agent, maintain their college eligibility as long as they withdraw by May 29.