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Friday / November 24.
  • Jalen Carey talks final three schools, decision timeline

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    MONTCLAIR, N.J. — There has been a whirlwind of activity surrounding Jalen Carey this week.

    The 6-foot-4, 175-pound point guard from the NJ Playaz and Montclair (N.J.) Immaculate Conception finished up his official visit to Syracuse last weekend. Then this week he had home visits with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, UConn’s Kevin Ollie and Miami’s Jim Larranaga. On Friday morning, both Boeheim and Ollie were guest speakers at the Garden State Basketball Clinic at his high school.

    “I’m still just trying to see what’s the best school for me, so I’m taking it all in,” Carey told me Friday in the gym at his high school. “It’s getting a little bit stressful, but I’m managing to take it in. My mom and my dad and my coaches are helping me out.”

    Carey, ranked the No. 11 point guard in the Class of 2018 by 247Sports.com, is eyeing a specific decision date next month.

    “I was thinking about committing on my birthday, Oct. 11th,” he said. “I spoke with my principal about it, she said we could set up something here, like a school day.”

    After originally listing six schools, Carey is now focusing on three, with Kansas, Villanova and Rutgers effectively out of the mix.

    “I’m mainly focused on these three schools [Miami, Syracuse and UConn], it’s been a long process,” Carey said. “I think now it’s just time to focus on these three schools and make a decision by next month.”

    He broke down his final three schools:

    Syracuse: “They think I can come in and play right away, put the ball in my hands and make plays for others. They feel I can be a big part of their program, they see they need a guard badly so they I feel I can come in and fill that guard spot right away.”

    Carey is basically the only guard the Orange are recruiting in 2018.

    “That makes me feel special, knowing that they’re not willing to take any chances,” he said.  “They know I’m the only option, they have all their faith in me. That’s something really special.”

    Boeheim has done well with New Jersey guards in recent years, including Tyler Ennis (St. Benedict’s Prep, Malachi Richardson (Trenton Catholic) and Tyus Battle (St. Joe’s).

    “I spoke with Tyus a little bit at Nike Skills Academy,” Carey said. “I know Tyler Ennis went there, they talked to me a lot about him. I know a lot of other guards went there, Dion Waiters, and how they feel I’m the same or better as some of those guys and how they would help me.”

     

    Miami: “Miami is the same as Syracuse’s message, they feel I can come in and play right away. They feel like they can develop me into that NBA player that they think I can be. And just hearing that from them is something special as well.”

    The Hurricanes could lose Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker to the NBA Draft.

    Ja’Quan Newton is a senior, too, so this could be his last year,” Carey said. “They’re just looking for guards to come in and take on their roles and do even more than what they did. They feel like I’m able to do that.”

     

    UConn: “They just signed a guard [James Akinjo] and they still feel like I’m a priority. They still feel like I can come in and do things that no other can do, so that’s good. I just spoke with ‘KO’ [Thursday] night, talked about the whole situation and stuff like that.

    “That’s how they always play, with multiple guards, multiple ball-handlers. And he feels like that’s their best way to win. He feels like if I come, I would be able to help their program as well, too.”

     

    Wherever Carey goes, his mother feels he cannot go wrong.

    “I know with everything going on here today, we’ll sit down later as a family and discuss it,” Tawana Alston said. “Everyone will give their input as to what they think and then of course he’s going to have the final decision as to where he’s going to go.”

    She added: “All three of the schools are great as far as basketball-wise. All three of them have great academic programs so it’s really hard to say which one stands out right now. And they’re all great programs, so whichever one he does pick, it can’t be a bad choice.”

    Ultimately, Carey hopes to play in the NBA.

    “Yeah, that’s my main goal,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking for in college, to help prepare me for that next level. Even if God forbid I get hurt, those four years in college will help me get prepared.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.