Wendell Carter Jr. declares for NBA Draft

Consensus top-10 pick "struggled" with the decision

Blue Devils forward Wendell Carter Jr (34) and Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj (21) go for a rebound during the second half in the semifinals of the Midwest regional of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at CenturyLink Center. (Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports)

Wendell Carter Jr. became the fourth Duke freshman of the year to declare for the NBA Draft, making the announcement in a release from the school on Monday.

“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. “We’re all brothers. We all have each other’s’ 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.”

The 6-foot-10 power forward was fourth in the ACC in rebounding this season, averaging 9.1 a game. He also averaged 13.9 points, and his 76 blocked shots were second-most by a Duke freshman in school history. His 335 rebounds and 16 double-doubles also ranked second on the Blue Devils’ all-time freshman list.

Carter is a consensus top-10 pick in the major NBA mock drafts, but he was the last member of Duke’s freshman class to announce his plans to leave school. Power forward Marvin Bagley III, point guard Trevon Duval and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. all announced that they were one-and-done college players in late March or early April.

Last week, Carter’s parents told The Undefeated that they, and Carter, were split on whether he should remain at Duke for another year.

“I told him I wanted him to come back,” mother Kylia Carter said, adding that her son was “going through this struggle” in attempting to make up his mind.

Father Wendell Sr. said, “I think it would be a good decision for him to go.”

In the end, with a selection in the early part of the draft seeming like a very likely outcome, Carter chose to depart for the pros.

“It was such an honor to coach Wendell,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “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.”