COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – To say that University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr. has no qualms about potentially teaming up with another elite big man in college would be an understatement. Carey outright welcomes it.
“I think it would be great,” said Carey, who is ranked No. 2 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019. “I feel like I have the type of game that can play with anyone. So, yeah, I’d love it.”
Don’t brush off Carey’s comments as cliché, he’s got a history of teaming up with dominant bigs such as his high school and summer circuit teammate Scottie Barnes, who is ranked No. 6 overall in the Chosen 25 for 2020, and Mountain Brook (Ala.) forward Trendon Watford, who is ranked No. 21 in the Chosen 25 for 2019.
Carey saw the twin towers approach work last year at Duke with Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., and thinks it will work this year at Kentucky with Nick Richards, Reid Travis, E.J. Montgomery and P.J. Washington.
“Some schools are selling me on playing with another elite big and some are focusing on me,” Carey said. “I think it’s more attractive to play with another big, actually. I think it would help both of us. I want to win and whatever gives us the best chance to do that is what I want to do.”
ESPN recruiting director Paul Biancardi said it wouldn’t be hard for a coach to sell playing alongside a player like Carey because of his versatility, which was on full display at the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp on Saturday.
Carey showed off his stroke from the perimeter, got into the lane at will, finished with both hands in the paint and brought the ball up the floor like a guard.
“I can always see guys of similar abilities playing together because then you’re so much harder to defend,” said Biancardi, who won Horizon League Coach of the Year at Wright State in 2004. “Guys like Vernon are gonna play, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s great to have guys like Vernon that have different abilities because he’ll complement most players really well.”
Carey said he’s talked to Memphis (Tenn.) East High School center James Wiseman and La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart about patrolling the paint alongside each other in college.
Stewart and Wiseman, who are ranked No. 3 and No. 4 overall in the Chosen 25 for 2019, respectively, are in attendance at the Minicamp this weekend.
Carey took an official visit to Michigan State in February and will kick off his post-summer official visit tour Oct. 12 when he heads to Kentucky. Official visits to Duke, Miami, North Carolina and Michigan State will follow.
“After I take my officials, I’ll probably get my decision over with,” Carey said. “I should know by then. My goal is to sign during the Early Signing Period. If it’s with another big, I think that’s great, but either way it’ll be what I feel is the best situation for me.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY