Duke has lost its entire starting group after freshman big man Wendell Carter Jr. announced he will declare for the NBA draft and forgo his final three years of college eligibility.
Carter joins fellow freshmen teammates Marvin Bagley III, Gary Trent Jr., and Trevon Duval to declare with the intent to hire an agent. The Blue Devils, who signed the top three players in the Class of 2018, will also lose senior Grayson Allen.
“I want to thank Duke University, my coaches and teammates for helping me so much, not only on the court, but off it as well,” Carter said in a statement released on Monday. “We’re all brothers, we all have each other’s backs. I’m really going to miss being around my friends, but I’m really going to cherish the moments we had together. I’m very excited and very happy to say I was part of something special here at Duke.”
The 6-foot-10 Georgia native averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds while playing alongside Bagley on the Duke frontline. Multiple NBA executives told ESPN that Carter is a likely lottery pick in the June draft.
“It was such an honor to coach Wendell,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “He and his family were a true joy to have in our program and they’ll always be in our program. He had a sensational freshman year — a double-double guy — and he has so much more potential. He’s going to keep getting better, because he’s talented and he has the best attitude. He really represented himself, his family and Duke in a first-class manner, and whoever gets him is going to be very lucky.”