Draft fanatics it's time for another episode of Film Room. Today, we are paying some love to the big guys in the middle. Today's stop? Duke freshman big man Vernon Carey Jr who has been impressive with his play as of late for the Blue Devils.
Now if you haven't had the opportunity to watch Vernon Carey Jr play, he's pretty much the definition of a BIG. Carey is a monster. He's listed at 6'10" 270 pounds, and for some reason, I feel like that might be generous. Vernon stands out immediately on film and you sort of feel bad for anyone that is assigned with defending him. Most players with Carey Jr's size, don't possess the elite athleticism and footwork that the Duke freshman has.
With the way that the NBA game has translated over the last decade, prospects like Carey will be questioned whether or not he will have a natural fit with today's game. Carey fits the mold of an old school bruiser inside, but his finishing ability and developing outside shot making him an intriguing talent moving forward.
When you turn on the tape to watch Vernon Carey Jr you're going to have a fun time as a fan of defense. He's fantastic at timing his jumps to get shots at the highest point. Numerous times, you'll notice that Carey doesn't go for pump fakes as well, which just shows his anticipation ability as a rim protector. Great read here by Carey and his timing to get this rejection is impressive.
This play might not look like much to the naked eye but it is so impressive in my opinion. First of all, notice Carey get out of the gates and off to the races in transition. Vernon then quickly gets his head around after surveying the floor ahead and keeps his eye on the ball handler. Showing soft hands, Carey takes in a rocket pass from Tre Jones before gathering and finishing with touch around the basket. That's a play that plenty of Front Offices will love.
Like we stated previously, Carey fits the mold as an old school feed him inside and let him go to work type of big. But, the way the game is played today, you usually don't see that anymore. So what's the curveball here? A developing outside game that could turn Carey into an intriguing pick and pop weapon if he can consistently hit from outside. Carey is hitting 66.7% of his three-point attempts this year (relax he's only attempting 0.6 per game). But, if he can continue to build off of those numbers, watch out.
Oh man play this on repeat about six times, please. Look at the beautiful footwork for the big fella. Great clip here showing the impressive athleticism and footwork that Carey has. Any doubts about his ability to guard smaller players at the next level should be solved here. If Vernon can prove to be a potential switch asset at the next level, it's only going to continue to improve his draft stock.
RIM PROTECTOR PART II
I'll take volleyball spikes for $1,000 Alex. Good lord Vernon Carey Jr. Love the anticipation here by Carey as a rim protector and this sets the tone and sends a message to Michigan State that "yes, this is going to be a long night if you intend to come in the paint."
Love this camera angle and we get to see Carey using his frame to create positioning inside. Great feed to Carey and then we get a look at the explosiveness by the big fella.
OUTSIDE SHOOTING PART II
Another clip to have potential NBA Front Offices drooling at the mouth. Carey doesn't have too bad of a form from outside as well. It's just enough to make defenses respect his outside shot.
FREE THROW FORM
This is an interesting development to keep an eye on throughout the year. The Duke Freshman has had plenty of games where he's been impressive from the line, including this game against Michigan State in which Carey went 9/12 from the line. But, the big man is currently shooting 61.8% from the line. If Carey can get that number up into the 70% range, he should check the boxes with NBA personnel.
POST WORK PART II
Pretty much a textbook post-up clinic here by Vernon. Notice the use of his strength to gain great initial positioning in the key. Once Carey receives the entry pass, he goes to work. A great gather to feel out the defender and then a quick spin and he's off to the free-throw line for an and-one opportunity.
The more tape I watch on the talented freshman big, the more I'm intrigued by his talent at the next level. Carey is going to be an interesting prospect in terms of his NBA stock. Teams might be a bit wary of his fit in the NBA but his defensive potential and game-changing ability inside should make plenty of teams excited. At this point, I'd be surprised if he didn't end up climbing into the middle to the late first round. Time will tell, but if Carey keeps this type of production up, especially from outside, his stock should continue to climb.