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Making The Case: Will Vernon Carey finish atop 2019 rankings in April?

Vernon Carey Jr. (Matthew Hatfield,

Skilled big man Vernon Carey Jr. has once again held onto his spot atop the 2019 rankings. The question is, can Carey hold onto the top spot all the way through the final rankings? Or, will somebody from the field catch him? As usual, National Basketball Analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have Rival Views.

RELATED: Updated 2019 Rivals150 | Meet the top 10 | Carey's recruiting pitches


It's not often that a player is able to hold onto the No. 1 position all the way through their high school career. But so far, Carey has been able to fight off all of the competition. Heading into the spring, I had felt that he might finally get passed and I had my eye on James Wiseman as the guy who would do it.

There's long been a debate about who is better and while Wiseman is a little taller at seven-feet, a better athlete and seems to have the "upside" edge, the one thing he hadn't done is outplay Carey head-to-head. He didn't get to face Carey in the spring and frankly didn't have a good enough spring to take away the No. 1 spot from Carey. But he'll get his opportunity at Nike's Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. next week.

Instead, the guy who put the most pressure on Carey was point guard Cole Anthony and he'll continue to apply pressure. Anthony has been maybe the most productive player in high school basketball and maybe most impressively -- or troubling depending on how you look at it -- is that the 6-foot-1 guard outrebounded both Carey and Wiseman during play in Nike's EYBL.

The other guy that stands out to me as having the potential to snatch the top spot is Jaden McDaniels. McDaniels has the ability to switch multiple positions, is skilled, has 6-foot-9 size and is rapidly coming into his own.

Finally, maybe the most important thing to consider is that while Carey has held onto the top spot, he wasn't exactly dominant during the spring. Most notably, he looked somewhat out of shape and uninspired at times. So while Carey is still the No. 1 player until somebody takes the spot from him, I'd bet on the field eventually overtaking him.


Carey has been atop of 2019 Rivals150 for over a year and I do not expect for anything to change between now and its final release next April. Why? He has shown tremendous strides within his game, remained a dominant presence on the hardwood which correlates directly to the final stat sheet, has begun to hit the weights in bettering his body, sports the tangible measurements that should impress NBA personnel and the bloodlines that only bolster his argument as the nation’s best.

Carey, the son of former Miami Dolphins’ lineman Vernon Carey Sr., has grown up under the microscope. He is accustomed to the spotlight and has not only excelled with the attention placed upon him but become such a daunting prospect that he has made his father be known as Vernon Carey Jr.’s dad, impressive seeing that senior won a national title for the Miami Hurricanes and was a first-round NFL draft pick.

Standing at 6-foot-9 and with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Carey is everything one desires in a frontcourt prospect. He can step outside and knock down the perimeter jumper, but is also more than competent in causing havoc within the interior thanks to deft touch and Velcro-like hands on the glass. Toss in his underappreciated passing skills and motor as a rim-running finisher and what Carey cannot do is difficult to surmise.

He has already won a gold medal with the under-16 USA Basketball team last summer as he captured the MVP trophy along the way and could be slated to do just the same this week in Argentina with the USA under-17 unit. He just led his University School team to the GEICO High School Nationals championship game and was a killer on the Nike circuit for the second straight year, posting per-game averages of 17.8 points and seven rebounds, all while making 56 percent of his field goal tries and a third of his three-point attempts.

Carey checks all of the boxes. He has not remained stagnant. He has developed his body, become a more efficient inside-outside threat, and won at every level that he has played at. Mark it down. Carey will enter college next fall labeled as the top rated prospect within the 2019 class.