Observations On Vernon Carey Jr.

I decided to watch Duke’s incoming freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. play in a January 15th high school game that he played in for NSU University School against Calvary Christian, with thanks to Facebook via NFHS Network Hoops. Though he was invited to participate in the 2019 McDonald’s All-American game, he did not play, so I wanted to see watch a full match of his to get a glimpse of his overall skill set.   In this contest, Vernon Carey Jr. impressed me with his strong offensive skills, scoring versatility, and surprisingly solid athleticism and ball handling skills in his team’s blowout win on this day. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Vernon Carey Jr. is a very talented big man that will be playing for Duke this fall, and he could be a lottery pick in 2020. (Photo: Greg Nelson/Contributor of Getty Images)

Vernon Carey Jr. showed an impressive ability to score off the dribble as well as in transition. He is a big-bodied center that handles the ball well, and he has very good agility, especially for a player his size. He would often score on drives in transition, and he even used a nifty behind the back dribble move to score on a powerful two-handed dunk. He would also use Euro-step moves to get scores and free throws, and he did a terrific job of dribbling up court to score on fast breaks.

He also did a good job of scoring on half-court drives. Carey can subtly use spin moves to get past defenders, and he has solid footwork, mobility, and the body control to regularly score on layups around the basket. He also has solid low post scoring skills. He operates well, even when double and triple-teamed by smaller defenders, as he will use power moves to draw hoards of free throws, and he also scored on a turnaround jump hook off the glass.

Plus, he also will score on hustle plays, as he will score on tip-ins as well as score on thunderous dunks when left open around the basket. Every once in a while, he may miss shots in traffic, as he can be prone to rushing. He struggled to make jumpers consistently, but he showed a promising ability to knock them down, as he was able to make an open spot-up three in this game.

Also, Carey displayed adequate playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that can throw accurate, long passes to shooters to set up scores for them, and he also can set good screens for his teammates on offense. He did commit one turnover as he had a ball ripped away from him when handling up the court once, but generally he did a good job of passing and handling the basketball.

He didn’t grab as many rebounds as expected. He was able to leap up to get plenty of boards, especially on the defensive end, and he also leapt up to get an impressive, strong one-handed defensive board, but it seemed that he didn’t quite dominate on the glass, and he had some trouble hauling in tough boards in traffic.

Carey also played solid defense in this game. He was able to race down court to make a couple of nice chase-down blocks to prevent opponents from scoring in transition, and he also play passes and jump on loose balls to help his team get steals. He also would step out to contest shots on the perimeter to force misses, and he also defended well in the post. He also showed surprisingly good footwork when defending opposing ball handlers, and he did a good job of being in good position to stay in front of them to prevent them from getting all the way to the basket.

In general, Vernon Carey Jr. is an intriguing prospect, as he is an agile, mobile big man that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also has tremendous size and strength that makes him very tough to guard in the post. He also has shown a developing jump shot and he appears to be a much better defender than given credit for. Right now, he reminds me of former Memphis Grizzlies’ forward Zach Randolph, and Carey is a very talented big man that could end up being a solid starter in the NBA.

Other Notes:

I also got the chance to take the time to watch then-high school junior, 6-8 forward, Scottie Barnes play in this game. He is an athletic swingman that shoots the ball well, as he can make threes off the catch or dribble, and he also is a smooth scorer off the dribble. He also passes and handles the ball well, as he has good court sense to rack up assists in transition, but sometimes he can try to do too much, which can lead him prone to committing some turnovers.

He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball, and he also played good defense. Barnes would play passes and poke balls away to get steals, and he also has the length, athleticism, and timing to block numerous shots on and off the ball. When he is focused, he defends well, but every once in a while, he can have lapses that can lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Barnes is a talented, versatile swingman that will be a high school senior this year, and he is a skilled player whose skill set may be sort of similar to Sacramento Kings’ forward, Harrison Barnes. Scottie Barnes will definitely be a player to keep an eye on, as he could end up being a potential first round pick in the future, and could one day develop into being a solid role player at the NBA level.

For Calvary Christian’s 6-6 swingman, Gregg Glenn, who will be a high school sophomore, he’s been rated as a high-end prospect by ESPN, but he had a rough game in his team’s blowout loss to NSU University School.

Glenn struggled to score or make baskets, and he only was able to score on tip-ins and put backs. Sometimes he would have to use a pump fake or a pivot move, but he did show a good motor in getting scores off of offensive rebounds. However, he tended to miss shots on drives to the basket, as he had his shots blocked a couple of times, and he also was unable to connect on jumpers from beyond the arc.

He was able to make a couple of solid passes, as he was able to find a cutter from the high post, and he also kicked it out to a shooter off the dribble to set up scoring chances for them, but Glenn was also turnover prone, as he would drive the ball recklessly into traffic, which would lead him to commit turnovers.

He did do a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball, and he has good length and timing to block shots. He also will play passes, which enabled him to get some deflections. But he had a tendency to be caught ball watching on the defensive end, which would cause him to be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Gregg Glenn struggled in his team’s loss, and he will need to improve his jump shot, ball handling, and focus on the defensive end. Right now, he will need to focus on having a good season this year, and that could help keep his recruiting rankings high in the meantime.

Calvary Christian’s 6-6 swingman Tim Dalger, who will be attending Independence Community College this season, had a fairly good game in his team’s loss to NSU University School.

He is a good athlete that does a good job of attacking the basket to garner scores and free throws, and he also was able to make a quick pull-up, mid-range jumper from around the left elbow. He also managed to draw free throws on a cut to the basket, and while he did not make a three-pointer in this game, he also managed to draw three throws on a step-back, pull-up three once.

Dalger was also able to kick it out to a shooter off the dribble to set up a scoring chance for his teammate. He did have a penchant for committing turnovers though, as his tendency to dribble into traffic got him into trouble on a couple of occasions. He also threw an inbounds pass that was intercepted once.

He also helped get his team several boards. Also, he showed off adequate defensive skills. He also is an active help defender that would play passing lanes to get steals, and he also will hound opposing ball handlers to make things difficult for them.  Sometimes, he would have lapses, which would lead his team to allow scores.

Overall, Tim Dalger is an athletic swingman that can ably get shots up, and he also has the ability to be a standout defender at the collegiate level. He will need to work on his jump shot, but if he can continue to improve as an overall player, he could be a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

NSU University School’s 6-8, soon-to-be high school senior forward, Jalil Beaubrun was able to make a couple of early three-point shots to help his team space the floor. He is a mobile combo forward that shoots the ball well, and he excels as a spot-up shooter on offense. However, he was called for a charging foul after bowling over his opponent in an effort to score in the post, and he didn’t seem to be much of a factor from there on out.

He did stay in front of his man to force opponents to miss shots on drives to the hoop, but he did foul an opponent on a three-point shot. Overall, Beaubrun is an athletic, skilled player that can shoot the basketball, and he could be a player that may end up in NCAA division I college basketball in the 2020-21 season.