The state of New Jersey has several of the top players in the classes of 2010 and 2011 this season in the high school ranks, namely Michael Gilchrist, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Myck Kabongo and more.
But what about 2012? Who is the next to wear the crown as the marquee prospect from the Garden State?
Paterson Catholic prospect Kyle Anderson gets more attention, but Tariq Carey might be the best player in the state.
The 6-foot-1 combo guard from Newark Eastside (N.J.) is developing rapidly, and was impressive when NBE saw him at the Hoop Group HBC Metro Summer Showcase and the St. John’s Elite Camp.
Apparently various colleges have also taken notice of the rising sophomore.
“Oregon State, Villanova, Penn State, Seton Hall, George Mason,” Carey provided when asked about his current school list. He did add that he hasn’t picked up any offers yet.
Even though he does not have to decide on a school for a couple of years, Carey is already checking out potential destinations.
“I’m supposed to be heading up to St. John’s September 2,” he said. “That’s the latest on the schedule dealing with visits.
"I [also] went on a tour of SMU when I went down for their Elite Camp August 7-9, that’s about it.”
Carey’s high school coach, Troy Long, added that he was trying to set up a visit to Villanova in September as well. Long also states that St. Joseph’s and Siena are showing interest in Carey.
Carey discussed that all of the attention from colleges has come very quickly – but he is not going to rest on his laurels until he reaches all of his goals.
“It feels real good,” he said. “Only a year ago I was talking how I wanted to be on the Internet and get noticed, and a year later I’m getting a lot of recognition. I’m still not there yet because I want to try to be a McDonald’s All-American.”
Despite the number of schools currently courting Carey’s services, he’s not content with his standing nationally, and wants to become a household name across the country.
“They wont ever give [me] a chance to be ranked higher than Kyle Anderson,” he said. “I feel that, if I’m not better, we’re equal. I should be number two this year, that’s just my opinion. I mean, he’s good and all but I think the truth should be the truth. If you’re better than somebody, you shouldn’t base them off of what school they go to. But that’s how it goes.”
Carey, whose dream school is Wake Forest, made his presence known at many of the events he attended this summer by himself and with Team New Jersey Elite, and is hoping more people begin to take notice of the competition he is outplaying.
“Everybody knows I’m good and every time I go to a camp, I do really well,” he said. “Like Eastern [Hoop Group Elite], all the big-name freshmen [were] there, include me, and I was still ranked higher than every other freshman.”
“And some of the ranking websites,” he continued, “most of the people that’s ranked higher than me, I destroyed.”
Carey is a smooth player who is not afraid of going up and finishing around the rim with contact. He gets to the basket very well, driving down the lane or along the baseline. The athletic guard also has a decent mid-range game and is crafty with the ball. Defensively, he picks up steals by playing the passing lanes well. His only weakness right now is his outside shot, as he uses his quickness to consistently drive past defenders instead.
“He is a hard-working kid who stays in the gym,” Long said. “He loves challenges and wants to play against the best so if someone is ranked higher than him, he will go at them hard.”
Long also attributes some of Carey’s growth to a current New Jersey high school superstar.
“He is like Kyrie Irving’s little brother,” Long said. “Kyrie always takes care of him and gets him into stuff. He met Kyrie when he was in the 8th grade. They were friends every since. He looks up to Kyrie and Kyrie always gives him advice. They went to the St. John’s Elite Camp together and Kyrie got him into Five-Star with him as well. He’s always giving him tips and pointers.”
While Carey is the go-to-guy on his AAU team, he is constantly honing his game to try and showcase his skills. That goal was fulfilled when he made the all-star game at this week’s Five-Star Camp.
“My coach even said that ‘Tariq is able to do the things he does when he goes to camp because he works on his game,’” Carey said.
The confident Carey is ready to put to rest any doubt that he has the talent and potential to be a big-time player.
Said Carey: “This high school season I will prove that I’m the best player in the class of 2012 in New Jersey.”