With Wendell Carter Jr. off to the NBA, Duke has lost its entire starting lineup

The Dagger

Make it four one-and-dones for Duke.

Duke announced Monday morning that freshman Wendell Carter Jr. will forgo the remainder of his collegiate eligibility and declare for the NBA draft. Carter Jr., like fellow Duke freshmen Marvin Bagley III, Gary Trent Jr., and Trevon Duval, intends to hire an agent.

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Carter, a 6-foot-10, 259-pound big man, averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this season en route to second-team All-ACC honors. Carter, who tallied 16 double-doubles, shot 56.1 percent from the field while displaying an ability to step out beyond the 3-point line at a 41.3 percent clip (19/46).

Carter, 19, is an expected lottery pick in June’s NBA draft.

“I want to thank Duke University, my coaches and teammates for helping me so much, not only on the court, but off it as well,” Carter said in a university release. “We’re all brothers, we all have each other’s’ backs. I’m really going to miss being around my friends, but I’m really going to cherish the moments we had together. I’m very excited and very happy to say I was part of something special here at Duke.”

Added Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski: “It was such an honor to coach Wendell. He and his family were a true joy to have in our program and they’ll always be in our program. He had a sensational freshman year – a double-double guy – and he has so much more potential. He’s going to keep getting better, because he’s talented and he has the best attitude. He really represented himself, his family and Duke in a first-class manner, and whoever gets him is going to be very lucky.”

The loss of those four freshmen, plus senior guard Grayson Allen, means Duke will replace its entire starting lineup ahead of the 2018-19 season. But Krzyzewski has reinforcements on the way with four five-star recruits — R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish, Zion Williamson and Tre Jones — replenishing the roster. Barrett (No. 1), Reddish (No. 3) and Williamson (No. 5) are rated as three of the top five class of 2018 prospects according to Rivals.com. Jones is not far behind, coming in at No. 12 in the Rivals 150.

Wendell Carter Jr (34) became the fourth Duke freshman to declare for the 2018 NBA draft. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Wendell Carter Jr (34) became the fourth Duke freshman to declare for the 2018 NBA draft. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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