Duke freshman big man Vernon Carey Jr. entering NBA draft

Duke freshman big man Vernon Carey Jr. entering NBA draft
Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. (1) maneuvers around California forward Andre Kelly (22) during the first half of the first round of the 2K Empire Classic NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Source: Kathy Willens)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Duke freshman Vernon Carey Jr. is entering the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Carey announced his decision Friday following a season in which he was The Associated Press player of the year and newcomer of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was also a second-team AP All-American while being named national freshman of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

''I loved competing with my teammates on the biggest stage in college basketball,'' Carey said in a social-media post. ''We created memories that I will cherish forever. I grew as a player and person, and feel prepared to take that next step.''

Carey had been considered a likely one-and-done prospect and projected first-round pick. He averaged team highs of 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 57.7% as a physical inside presence.

''He came every day looking to get better, and I know the best is yet to come for him,'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement.

Carey joins fellow freshman Cassius Stanley and sophomore point guard Tre Jones as early entrants to the NBA draft.