LAS VEGAS — Vernon Carey sits alone on the training table at Bishop Gorman High School, ice on his knee after another dominant performance with Each 1 Teach 1, his elite AAU basketball program. Players, fans and parents crowd the sardine-can hallway outside.
It’s loud out there.
But in here, as the 6-foot-10 Carey scans his seemingly endless text messages and notifications, it’s blissfully quiet. He doesn’t get much quiet nowadays.
Has he gotten used to this?
“Yeah,” Carey, the No. 3 player in the Chosen 25 for 2019, told the Free Press with a little smile.
Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Dane Fife and Dwayne Stephens were courtside for Carey on Friday at Fab 48, the high-profile AAU tournament that attracts many of the top basketball recruits in the country. So were Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Jon Scheyer, and North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Steve Robinson.
Those three programs, plus Kentucky and Miami, make up Carey’s top five. He took one official to Michigan State in February, and he still has two official visits scheduled to Duke and Kentucky in October. Miami and North Carolina haven’t been scheduled yet.
Carey is Izzo’s No. 1 target, and he said he definitely feels that way. He said playing for the Hall of Fame coach would be a “big deal,” and he compares his game to that of Nick Ward and other successful Big Ten bigs like Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan.
“(They’d be) developing my game,” Carey said of Izzo and his staff. “Just getting in better shape, cardio, just my overall skill set. Me being a leader — just bringing everything out of me.”
The Fort Lauderdale native spoke more about Michigan State, and the rest of his top five, with the Free Press:
On Michigan State
“We’ve just been talking on the phone — a day-to-day relationship. They’re saying that I can be their guy if I go there, and they’ll bring talent around me. … If I come there next year, I can focus on making it as, if not the top draft pick, one of the top draft picks. … Teams like Purdue and Ohio State, those type of teams would bring good competition. Guys like Nick Ward, Isaac Haas, Caleb Swanigan.”
“When I went there for my official in February, it was my first visit and I really didn’t know what to expect. It went really well, though. It was snowing; I had never seen snow in my life, and it was nice.”
“I would get to continue my dad’s legacy, because he (Vernon Carey Sr.) went there for football. So, if I go there for basketball, I’ll get to carry the legacy. It would mean a lot for me and my family just to continue the legacy for him.”
“Coach Cal is texting me once or twice a week, just checking up on me. I know he’s going to be real with me. He’s a real coach. He’s not going to tell you what you want to hear, but he’s going to tell you what you need to hear.”
“I was talking to Coach Nate James and Coach K last night after the game. He said I played really well. We’re staying in touch and they said that I could be one of their main big guys if I go there.”
“They’re talking about the impact I could have if I go there — from the start. They’re trying to recruit guards in my class that could bring talent with me.”