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What the Wendell Carter Announcement Means for Duke

Gary Trent Jr. & Wendell Carter | Photo: Chris Summerville
Gary Trent Jr. & Wendell Carter | Photo: Chris Summerville

The Duke basketball team received a big addition to the 2017 recruiting class today with the announcement that 5-star power forward Wendell Carter has committed to the Blue Devils.

Ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 3 power forward and No. 4 overall player in the class of 2017, Carter is an elite player and potential one-and-done who will be an important piece for next season’s team.

The 6’10”, 250-pounder from Atlanta, Ga., is considered to be the best low-post player in his class and has dominated at every level of the past couple years, including for his Pace Academy high school team, on the Nike EYBL AAU circuit, and with USA Basketball.

Carter is a polished low post scorer who continues to improve the range on his jump shot, while also being a relentless defender and solid rim protector. He’s a more traditional frontcourt player compared to the other elite bigs in his class, such as DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba, but he has all the tools to be dominant at the college level.

And let’s hope that’s the case for him at Duke, because the Blue Devils will need it.

Carter will likely be stepping into a situation where there are big shoes to fill. The program will lose Amile Jefferson to graduation and is expected to see Marques Bolden and Harry Giles depart for the NBA. Chase Jeter, Antonio Vrankovic, and Javin DeLaurier could be part of the rotation, but Duke’s been hit by the transfer bug in the past and there’s no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again.

With the frontcourt minutes available and due to his natural talent, I’d be surprised if Carter isn’t an immediate starter for the 2017-18 season.

Duke is still hoping to land Mohamed Bamba, another 5-star post player in the class of 2017, and if he elects to join Carter, the Blue Devils would then have one of the most imposing frontlines in college basketball next season. I wouldn’t say the Carter commitment will be a major hurdle in Duke’s recruitment of Bamba, but it now makes him more of a luxury than a necessity.

The commitment of Carter now puts the program in a position of more solid footing as it looks to continue to add to the 2017 class, and the focus will shift toward the wing as Duke targets 5-star forward Kevin Knox and the point guard position, where the Blue Devils have offered Matt Coleman and are showing interest in Trevon Duval.

Let’s hope Wendell can avoid the injury problems that have hindered Duke’s incoming freshman post players this season and we’ll get to see what he can do for an entire season as a Blue Devil.

If it’s anything like how he’s played at every other level over the past couple years, it should be another special season.Save