Is it Possible for Both to be Correct?
By Brian Horace
It’s hard to say where the fault, if there is any fault to be given, in the Wendell Carter Jr. – Duke situation. While it’s easy to understand why his parents felt a little out of sorts about Duke going after Marvin Bagley III. There are two sides to every story and part of that is understanding that each point of view is beholden to their own. Carter Jr. was recruited and obviously as the crown of the recruiting class at that time it’s easy to feel as if it is your time. Now whether of not there were assurances of that it’s hard to say.
Even if there were said assurances, everyone knows that recruiting is a job that never stops, it’s always in flux and a coach has a duty to his team as well as each individual player. Duke is not Harvard, Duke is not a B-list program. It’s a place where you are going to play with other players of similar calibre. I’m not sure there is a coach in America that would have turned down a commitment of Marvin Bagley III and why should they have? I doubt Coach K and his squad of recruiters had any inkling at the time Carter signed that Bagley would be available.
Things change and that is a very good lesson for any player, at any level – especially one which eyes on the NBA. There were ample opportunities for both players to showcase their talents and both were top 10 picks in the NBA draft, both Bagley and Carter were able to give teams exactly what the pieces of their game they needed to see. There were no doubts about Carter’s abilities on the offensive end but defensively, I’m not sure many knew how good he was. He was the anchor to Duke’s defense and probably had a lot to do with how good they ended up being near the midway and end of the season.
I don’t begrudge the Carters, assuming the complaints are actually legitimately from the family (Wendell has spoken out as to the veracity of the articles in question), for their take on things. I do believe there is a clear difference between being lied to and knowing that in the world of big time College Basketball, things can and will change on a dime.
I also don’t begrudge Coach K or any coach for going after the best talent available. I’m not sure there is a loser in this situation with both players about to sign multi-million dollar deals as lottery picks. Sometimes the best way to deal with those types of feelings is to think of them in terms of the greater good and remember that individuality is a trait that works best in the NBA. College Basketball will alway be more about fit, team, adjustments and role.