Wendell Carter Jr., who is regarded by most scouting websites as one of the top forwards in the class of 2017, has chosen to play college basketball at Duke.
Scout.com, 24/7 sports and ESPN all rate him the No. 4 overall prospect in his class.
Carter chose Duke over Harvard, Georgia Tech and Georgia.
Carter, made the announcement on Twitter, through a video created by Bleacher Report. The video was James Bond-themed. In the video, Carter drives in a sports car to a basketball gym. Wearing a tuxedo and bow tie, he crosses over six defenders on his way to the basket and dunks the basketball.
When he drops from the rim, he’s wearing a blue Duke basketball jersey.
The 6-10, 265 pound forward, plays basketball at Pace Academy in Atlanta. He will join Gary Trent Jr., another highly touted recruit, and Alex O’Connell as the list of players who have committed to Duke.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Duke had not received the signed letter of intent.
Nutrition and academics
Wendell Carter Sr., his father, said nutrition was a huge priority for his son. He said while visiting schools he personally noticed some players were “out-of-shape.”
“You can’t perform when you’re not eating right,” he said. “You’ve got to be mobile.”
Much had been made about Harvard being among the schools on Carter Jr.’s list. His father said academics were most important to the family.
“Harvard is like a Toyota Camry with a Corvette engine in it,” he said. “What happens if something goes wrong? Will he be alright if he gets hurt?”
“I’m looking past basketball.”
Carter Jr. was born in Atlanta to Wendell Carter Sr. and Kylia Carter. They too played college basketball. So it’s no secret where he gets his height from.
His dad is 6-6 and his mom is 6-5. Kylia Carter played college basketball at the University of Mississippi, while Wendell Carter Sr. played at Pearl River Junior College and later Delta State.
The elder Carter went go on to play overseas for a few years.
That’s where he started to notice his son’s interest in basketball.
“He would watch me and he would see me running up and down the floor and he would try to do the same thing,” Carter Sr. said. “So that was kind of cute.”
He said his son started playing when he was six. He also played football, but his parents pulled him from the sport because they noticed that as he got taller, players started going for his knees.
Carter Sr. said he knew his son would be good around 10th grade, after he transferred to Pace Academy, a college preparatory private school. He said he noticed a spike in his game.
“We’re very proud,” Carter Sr. said. “I really never thought this would happened. It just kind of crept up on us. He’s grown into his own trying to make his own decisions and be a man about what he does.”
No questions marks
Jonathan Givony, president of DraftExpress, a professional scouting, statistics and analytic service, said Carter has all the tools a team would want in a player. He said he can play face up and back to the basket and has a man’s body.
“If I had to pick one guy from this class to build a team around, he would be that guy,” Givony said. “Other guys from his class are ‘potential guys.’ Guys who might be great and may have some question marks. But there are no questions marks from Wendell Carter.”
The one weakness Givony did note was that Carter has a tendency to get bored on the court.
“The high school competition can get kind of boring for him at times, and he tends to go through the motions, but he’s been dominant for so long I can kind of understand that,” Givony said.
Nov. 16 marked the end of the early signing period for basketball recruits. The regular period starts on April 12. Also said to be interested in Duke are Mohammed Bamba and Kevin Knox, both five-star recruits. Bamba at 6-11, 215 pounds is the highest rated recruit who has not committed to a school yet.
The 6-5, 205 pound, Knox is also said to be interested in the North Carolina Tar Heels.