DURHAM — Make it four one-and-dones for Duke this season.
Wendell Carter Jr. is joining Duke freshmen Marvin Bagley, Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr. in declaring for the NBA Draft after helping the Blue Devils to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.
“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 on his Instagram account. "We’re all brothers, we all have each others’ 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.”
Carter, who is from Atlanta, was a Top 5 recruit coming out of high school.
He averaged 13.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds this past season at Duke.
But his biggest impact for Duke was on the defensive end. At times he changed games as the anchor in Duke's 2-3 zone. He averaged 2.1 blocks per game. But he also often found himself in foul trouble.
During Duke's Elite Eight game against Kansas, Carter fouled out of the game in overtime. At that point, Duke had a lead over Kansas. But Kansas ended the game on a run and won 85-81.
“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.”
Carter's name also popped up in a Yahoo! investigative report in February. According to the report, Carter's mother's name was listed among a list of players and family members on an expense report from Christian Dawkins, an agent who was arrested in the FBI's investigation into corruption into college basketball.
His mother told Krzyzewski that she and her husband met for lunch with Dawkins — which is not against the NCAA's amateurism rules — but did not eat.
Carter was cleared and deemed eligible by Duke.
Carter's departure from Duke leaves the Blue Devils with rising senior 7-footer Antonio Vrankovic and juniors Marques Bolden (6-11) and Javin DeLaurier (6-10) as their interior players for next season. All have been reserve players during their Duke careers.
The Blue Devils have the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, featuring the top three players in the class of 2018. They include 6-7 small forwards R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish, 6-6 power forward Zion Williamson and 6-2 point guard Tre Jones.