Duke freshmen lead group of area players declaring for NBA Draft

A look at ACC and North Carolina players who have entered the process

Duke freshmen Wendell Carter Jr. (34), Gary Trent Jr. (2) and Trevon Duval (1) will all participate in the NBA's predraft combine in Chicago (Steven Branscombe / USA TODAY Sports)

So far, the biggest surprise of the NBA Draft early-entry decision is that we haven’t heard from Wendell Carter Jr.

The freshman big man was a key player for Duke this year and a virtual certainty to be a one-and-done with the Blue Devils, but, more than two weeks after the team’s season ended, Carter has yet to make an announcement.

The other three Duke freshmen have all announced that they will be leaving school, hiring agents, and moving on to the NBA.

Marvin Bagley III was the first to declare, mere days after the Duke season ended. The 6-foot-10 power forward was the ACC Freshman and Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American.

“No freshman has done more in his freshman year than Marvin,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He’s broken every record and he’s really represented us at the highest level. I’m proud of him because he came in late and he adapted at the highest level. We wish him well. He and his family have prepared him well for this move. He’s ready. I can only see great things happening for him.”

A week later, point guard Trevon Duval announced he was also leaving. Duval had 207 assists this year, third in the ACC and fourth-most in Duke freshman history.

“We wish Trevon the very best,” Krzyzewski said. “He showed unbelievable improvement, especially at the end of the year. His athleticism and his ability to guard at the next level will help him. We know that great things will happen for Trevon as he embarks on his pro career and will be watching and supporting him every step of the way.”

Duval averaged 9.8 points and 7.2 assists in the postseason.

On Saturday, Gary Trent Jr. became the third Duke one-and-done of the year and 15th in school history. The shooting guard led the ACC in 3-point shooting and set a Duke freshman record with 97 made threes.

“Gary was the best 3-point shooter in the ACC,” Krzyzewski said. “At the NBA level, that’s what they’re looking for. He has the size of a two-guard who will be able to fit in the NBA. We appreciate everything Gary brought to Duke basketball and wish him the best as he begins his journey in professional basketball.”

It’s the second straight year that Duke has had three one-and-done freshmen and the third time in the last four years. Frank Jackson, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum all entered last season’s draft. Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow all went pro after the 2015 national championship season. Assuming Carter declares for the draft before the April 22 deadline, it will be the most one-and-done freshmen in Duke history.

Of the 12 Duke freshmen to enter the draft after one year of college basketball before this season, 11 were taken in the first round, and nine were selected in the lottery.

Every mock draft has Bagley going in the top five, and all except CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish had Carter going in the top 10 — Parrish had him at 15.

NBADraft.net, Tankathon, Hoops Hype and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram all have both Trent and Duval going in the first round. CBSSports.com’s Parrish has Duval as a first-rounder as well.

USA Today and Sports Illustrated both have Trent and Duval going in round two.

So far, the rest of the ACC has just four players who will definitely be leaving school early. Louisville’s Deng Adel and Ray Spalding both declared for the draft and will hire agents, as will Miami’s Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown.

In addition, a handful of ACC players have declared for the draft without hiring an agent, leaving the door open for a return to school after receiving feedback from NBA teams. Boston College guards and North Carolina natives Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson are both testing the waters, as are Miami’s Dewan Huell, Clemson’s Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed, and Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie.

In addition, Omer Yurtseven has made himself available for the NBA Draft. He isn’t hiring an agent, but he won’t be returning to NC State. He plans to transfer if he doesn’t remain in the draft. Junior teammate Torin Dorn also entered the draft process but has not hired an agent.

Three other players at North Carolina schools have entered the draft without hiring agents. Campbell’s Chris Clemons will test the waters — the second straight year he’s done so. Clemons declared without an agent last year, then chose to return to the Fighting Camels.

Charlotte guards Jon Davis and Andrien White have also put their names into the draft.