UConn, Seton Hall Working Hardest for 2018 Point Guard Jalen Carey
ROSELLE, N.J. — Jalen Carey was unstoppable for one half on Sunday at the Primetime Shootout, but in the end he and his Montclair Immaculate team had no answer for Naz Reid.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Carey scored 25 of his game-high 37 points in the first half, but Immaculate lost to Roselle Catholic, 86-74, largely due to Reid’s 36 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks. The 6-10 Reid scored 25 in the second half against an overmatched front line.
“It was tough,” said Carey, who added eight rebounds and five assists. “I’ll give him a little bit of credit, he showed why he’s one of the top players in that class but as a team collectively we’ve got to be able to stop [him]. He actually took over that third quarter.”
Carey and Reid showed out in front of a slew of college coaches, including Kentucky’s John Calipari and Tony Barbee; Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard, Shaheen Holloway and Grant Billmeier; Rutgers’ Steve Pikiell; UConn’s Dwayne Killings; St. John’s Matt Abdelmassih; Georgetown’s Anthony Solomon; and Tulane’s Doug Stewart.John Carey, Jalen’s father, said UConn and Seton Hall are currently working the hardest for his son, ranked the No. 16 point guard in the Class of 2018 by 247Sports.com.
UConn is hard after Carey.
“They just want me to commit,” he said. “We have a lot of great conversations. I’ve been talking to Kevin Ollie anytime I can hit him up, whenever. They just need a guard that’s going to get after it night in and night out and they think I’ll be able to do that for them.”
Carey knows Ollie played in the NBA and that the Huskies have a strong tradition of point guards, including Kemba Walker, Shabazz Napier and now Jalen Adams.
“That’s very appealing, a guy with that caliber to be able to see something in me that I’ve working on my whole life, and him offering me is more motivation toward my game, working even harder,” Carey said.
Carey has been on an unofficial visit to UConn and also attended the UConn-Syracuse game at Madison Square Garden in December.
“I just want to get more familiar with the coaches and the program,” he said.
Seton Hall, meantime, went three deep. They are involved for both Carey and Hudson Catholic Class of 2018 point guard Jahvon Quinerly.
“Shaheen’s been hitting me up a lot, he talks to me almost every day,” Carey said. “He sends me positive quotes, and their message is the same as UConn. They let their guards play. They just want me to be able to come in, stay home and take that program to another level.”
Meantime, Villanova, Kansas and Notre Dame are also recruiting Carey heavily.
“Coach Ash[ley] Howard from Villanova hit me up,” Carey said. “He wants me to come to their game vs. Seton Hall next Saturday. Yeah, I’ll be there.”
Villanova — which is also recruiting Quinerly — is obviously the reigning NCAA champion and has produced a ton of top guards.
“They won a national championship, so that opens my eye,” he said. “I love winning so they produced a lot of guards. That’s another school that lets their guards get after it and I feel I would play great in that system.
Kansas assistant Norm Roberts is also recruiting Carey.
“Coach Norm hits me up, Coach Q [Freddie Quartlebaum],” he said. “They’re another school, they just want to be able to add that person that can get after it night in and night out. I feel like I’m another guy that can fit into their system. Hopefully I can get out to their campus, catch a couple of their games before I make my decision.”
Notre Dame’s Ryan Ayers is also on the case.
“I haven’t been speaking to them lately, but they have a tough schedule lately,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll get in contact with me so I can get a feel for their team and their program. Hopefully I’ll get out to their campus, too.”
Carey said he has no preference on staying close to home or going away.
“I never really thought about that, it’s something I have to talk to my mom about,” he said. “But I felt like it’s down to whatever the best situation is for me. I’m not really focused on that right now, I just want to be able to get through the season.”
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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.