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Wendell Carter is joining Marvin Bagley and Gary Trent Jr. in the NBA. Duke announced Carter’s intention to leave the school after one season and declare for the 2018 NBA draft on Monday. 

Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds during his freshman season. The 6’10” forward also flashed some ability to stretch the floor and was an above average passer (2.0 APG) for his position and a solid rim protector (2.1 BPG).

Carter’s parents told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears last week they were unsure whether he would enter the draft. 

“I told him I wanted him to come back [to school],” Carter’s mom, Kylia, said. “His jaw dropped. It has nothing to do with basketball. It’s about you. It’s about who he is. He is a student at core. Yes, he is a great basketball player. But he’s an 18-year-old kid. He is having a tug with a heart and his mind. I don’t feel for him because I think it’s good for him that he is going through this struggle. It’s his decision. He has to live with it.”

Carter told Spears his decision to leave Duke was “difficult.”

“I fell in love with Duke in the short time I was there,” Carter said. “Taking that next chapter in my life is difficult. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs coming up this next year. I just saw the pros and cons of both situations. It was difficult to say no to one thing and follow my heart with the other thing.”

Carter is a lock to be a first-round pick and will likely go somewhere in the lottery. His versatility and ability to stretch the floor will make him an asset at the next level, and he was a steady, productive player at Duke despite playing with other elite players.

His lateral quickness and general lack of explosion are the two biggest knocks against him as a prospect, but he’s skilled enough that he should develop into an NBA starter. Bigs with his passing ability and capable jump shot are becoming more vital than ever as the league adopts a more five-out style of play.

The Blue Devils have now lost all five starters from their 2017-18 team. Bagley, Trent and Trevon Duval previously declared for the draft. Grayson Allen is out of eligibility. 

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