Heading into the 2017-18 season Duke was set to have a very talented recruiting class, with Wendell Carter Jr. expected to serve as the focal point in the front court. Things changed in mid-August however, as Marvin Bagley III announced that he would be moving back into the Class of 2017 and joining the Duke program. While adding another talented piece, especially one of Bagley’s caliber, was seen as a huge addition for the Blue Devils not everyone was thrilled with what the move would mean for how Mike Krzyzewski’s team played.
Parents Wendell Sr. and Kylia Carter saw a shift in how their son would be used at Duke, and in a story written by NBC Sports Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill, it’s clear that there are still some lingering bad feelings about the situation.
“I tell people. People make promises they can’t keep. It didn’t bother me,” Wendell Sr. told Goodwill. “I was concerned because I felt like we were lied to. ‘Oh, Wendell’s gonna be the man’ and then the rug was pulled from under us.”
As for Mrs. Carter, she says that there’s still the need for a conversation between herself and Krzyzewski when it comes to Wendell Jr.’s role not exactly matching up with what he was told during the recruiting process.
“We have not had our conversation but we will. We almost went there with him when we did our exit interview,” she told Goodwill. “But he’ll come around to a Bulls game and I’ll get the chance.”
It’s important to note here that there was no animosity between Carter Jr. and Bagley, with the former saying in the piece that their practice battles were more about making each other better, an “iron sharpens iron” approach. Carter did have to adjust his game in the aftermath of Bagley’s arrival. And after some early struggles, the 6-foot-10 big man averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game and finished the season with the highest individual defensive rating (92.8) of any of Duke’s regulars. Bagley (97.4) also completed the season with a defensive rating below 100.0.
Despite having to augment his style of play, Carter still landed in the lottery, with the Chicago Bulls selecting him with the seventh overall pick in last week’s NBA draft.
Whether or not promises were kept or broken is something that the Carter family and Krzyzewski will discuss at some point; Kylia Carter made that much clear in Goodwill’s story. And the on-court scenario not exactly matching up with what a recruit and his family are told during the recruiting process happens quite often.
That being said, the Carters still saw their son land in the lottery after his lone season at Duke. The situation could have been far worse, as some one-and-done players have learned the hard way since the NBA put its age limit rules in place.