Class of 2018 Montclair (N.J.) Immaculate Conception guard Jalen Carey has been on Syracuse basketball's radar for some time. The Orange watched him over the weekend during the EYBL in Hampton and came away so impressed that an offer was extended shortly thereafter.
"Assistant coach Adrian Autry called me (Tuesday)," Carey said. "Probably (Tuesday) evening around six or seven o'clock. He let me know I had a full scholarship. He said they liked my game. That in order to get to the next level, they would be able to help me accomplish that goal.
"Me and him have talked before. We're actually from the same neighborhood, so we've just been talking. He says Syracuse would be a great fit for me. I think it's something like the most point guards since 2009 in the first round of the draft. That stood out to me a lot. We've just been talking a lot and have a good relationship with each other."
After extending an offer, given the relationship developed by coach Autry, Syracuse is firmly in the mix for Carey's services.
"Syracuse is close to home," Carey said. "Location really isn't a big thing for me when it comes to my college decision. I'm just looking to get to that next level. I feel like the way coach is talking, I would be able to get to the next level.
"Their past has proven they can get players to the next level. That's my main goal as a player."
One attractive thing about the Orange is that they are led by a Hall of Fame head coach. That is something that Carey has taken note of as well.
"Being recruited by Syracuse is big time for me and my family," he said. "I've been working so hard and just knowing that a top school like that is seeing something in me that's what I've been working for my whole life. It's amazing. And playing in one of the best conferences in the ACC is just even better.
"Plus he has a great history. If he offers me a scholarship, he sees something in me to get me to the next level. I haven't met him personally, but I'll probably get him on the phone in the next couple weeks or so. Or when I go to visit. But I feel like Jim Boeheim is a great guy and I just want to get to know him more. Build a better relationship."
No visit has been set as of yet, but Carey says he definitely wants to get up to Central New York to check out the Orange. That could happen sometime in the somewhat near future, though he says he is currently focused on his AAU season.
In addition, Carey says he has no timeframe for a decision as of right now. He wants to trim his list soon and go from there.
"I'm enjoying the process," Carey said. "I"m just taking things day by day and not trying to rush anything. This is a big decision for me so I don't want to rush anything."
Over the last few weeks, Carey has become a hot prospect. He has picked up several offers, including Syracuse. That is due in large part to improvement in his game.
"From last year to this year, I feel like I've become much more of a leader," he said. "They're seeing my leadership on the court and that's what they want in a point guard. They look for me to do that if I were to come to their schools. I've improved most of my point guard skills.
"It's not just about scoring. It's about getting others involved. Playing on and off the ball and both sides of the floor. But I'm still improving. I'm always improving. Every day I try to get into the gym and work."