When Michael Carter-Williams was a freshman basketball player at Hamilton-Wenham Regional two years ago, his skill set was so obvious that one of the favorite pastimes for fans was to project where he would end up playing college ball.
Carter-Williams, a 6-foot-5 guard who has since transferred to St. Andrew's School in Barrington, R.I., gave basketball recruiters and fans everywhere his answer over the weekend when he verbally committed to Syracuse University.
"I didn't think I would like any school better than Syracuse," said Carter-Williams, 18, who is ranked No. 81 in the nation by Scout.com with two years of high school still remaining.
"I wanted to have the decision off my shoulders," he added. "It wouldn't be fair to my teammates (at St. Andrew's) to be thinking about colleges this season. I want to focus on my academics and basketball — now I'll be able to do that."
Carter-Williams, a combination guard whose college future may be at the point, was a prime recruit for several big-time programs. He ended up choosing Syracuse over Providence, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Miami. Boston College was also in the running, but Syracuse had everything he wanted.
"One of the (academic majors) they have is communications. That's something I really wanted," said Carter-Williams. "I also love the facilities and their coaches. They have a Hall of Fame coach (in Jim Boeheim). He is unbelievable, and (assistant) Mike Hopkins has been recruiting me from the beginning."
Carter-Williams had an eye-opening sophomore year at St. Andrew's, averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds for a team that plays a 30-game schedule and gets wide exposure.
Carter-Williams was a skinny young player at Hamilton-Wenham and still needs to fill out, but that's part of what made him so appealing to so many colleges. He is a classically 'long' player with a quick release who can shoot over most of the players who'll be guarding him.