NEW YORK — Kelvin Amayo has made his decision.
“I will be taking my talents to Towson University, to be a Tiger,” the 6-foot-5, 210-pound combo guard out of Hillside, N.J. said Monday in the SNY.tv studio.
Amayo, who averaged 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals for a Newark (N.J.) NIA Prep team that finished 26-7, chose Towson over College of Charleston, Providence and Seton Hall because first-year head coach Pat Skerry has offered to give him the ball and let him run the offense.
“He just came in and did a great job recruiting me,” Amayo said. “Before he even got the job, he came to the NIA gym and said he needed me. He said I’m going to probably play 33 minutes [a game] and I’ll be the face of Towson, so I’d rather do that.”
Amayo, who also did stints at Hillside High and St. Benedict’s Prep, helped NIA finish No. 6 nationally among prep schools. They were The Star-Ledger Prep team of the Year. Amayo was also chosen first-team All-Prep by the Ledger, and was selected to play in the Capitol Classic in Washington, D.C.
He opted to play for Skerry after visiting the Maryland school and Charleston last week.
“I thought to myself and said Towson would be the best fit,” he said.
Seton Hall was involved, but wanted him to play on the wing behind rising sophomore Fuquan Edwin.
“They wanted me to play on the wing position and I don’t really play on the wing like that,” he said. “I want to play the point and the two guard, not the wing.”
Towson finished 4-26 overall, 2-12 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Now Amayo will have to help turn things around under Skerry, the former Pittsburgh and Providence assistant.
“I’m just going to bring intensity and bring a new aura around their program,” he said.
Two of Amayo’s NIA teammates have already committed. Wing Shaquille Thomas is headed to Cincinnati and Ryan Rhoomes to TCU, yet NIA coach Rudy King believes Amayo brings his own special attributes.
“Kelvin is a special athlete who has experienced a lot in his young amateur career and has handled himself well through it all,” King said. “Sometimes we forget that these young men are still teenagers.
“Kelvin is a super athlete and is one of the best prospects I’ve ever coached. He is going to make all of the local programs look a little foolish for not signing him. He is hands down the best combo guard in New Jersey for the 2011 class.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.