Wendell Carter Says He, Duke Teammates Will 'Show a Lot More' at NBA Level

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2018

Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. (34) reacts following a dunk against Notre Dame during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Duke won 88-66. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Carter Jr. didn't have an otherworldly freshman season but is confident his true talent will shine when he makes the jump to the NBA.

Following a workout Monday with the Chicago Bulls, Carter told reporters he and his Duke teammates in the 2018 draft class will excel with a little more freedom at the next level, per ESPN's Nick Friedell:

"I think even my teammates, all my teammates, weren't able to show all their strengths. That's just the college life. You buy into whatever college you go to. You do whatever you got to do to help the team win. I think, not even speaking for myself, but all my teammates, we're going to be able to show a lot more that we can do at the next level with the spacing on the floor, the fact that it's the NBA. It's not no zone like how we were playing [at times], but it's a lot more space on the court."

Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 2017-18. He was also a 41.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc, though he attempted just 46 shots from three-point range.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected Carter as the No. 7 overall pick to the Chicago Bulls in his most recent mock draft. Wasserman also had Duke forward Marvin Bagley III as the second overall pick, with Gary Trent Jr., Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval all off the board in the second round.

Given how much talent Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski had at his disposal last season, it's not hard to see why Carter feels the NBA will be a better showcase for him and his former teammates.

Recent history hasn't exactly been kind to former Duke players, though. Over the last 10 years, 18 Blue Devils have been selected in the NBA draft, according to RealGM. Of that group, only Kyrie Irving has gone on to be an All-Star.

The tide may be turning, though, as Duke attracts more one-and-done players. Jayson Tatum is well on his way to becoming an All-Star for the Boston Celtics, and Brandon Ingram made nice strides in his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Carter and Bagley in particular from this year's class could help Duke shed the perception it struggles to set players up for success in the NBA.

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