When Elijah Carter arrived in Wolfeboro, N.H., Brewster Prep head coach Jason Smith knew that he was getting a player. The New Jersey native came to campus with a great reputation and plenty of coaches vouching for his ability.
But, as highly regarded as the 6-foot-3 combo guard was, Carter has exceeded Smith's expectations.
"He's been great," Smith told Rivals.com. "He's our best perimeter defender. He's really taken that role on and embraced it. He's been a consistent scorer for us this year as well."
A tough kid who mixes in jump shooting with drives to the rim, Carter makes effective use of his strength. He's a versatile guy who can wear several hats for a coach.
"I think he's a guard," explained Smith. "He's not really a point, he's not really a two. He's just a guard who makes plays. He has played the point for us this year when Naadir Tharpe has been out of the game or in foul trouble and he's done a good job of that."
While Carter is perhaps more of a scorer than a distributor, Smith is reminded of a former Brewster player who has transitioned very well to the college game.
"I think he's very similar to Reggie Moore a few years ago, who is now playing 30-plus minutes at the point at Washington State," said Smith. "I think that's what Eli is. He's a guard who can play either spot. He can score and he's done a great job of defending either spot. But, he's also done a great job of improving his distributing."
This spring, Carter will be in a unique position. Originally a member of the class of 2010, some of the four visits - Texas A&M, Oregon State, Charlotte, Seton Hall - he took in the fall count toward him being a 2010 recruit. Because of that, he's been told that he can still take three more visits.
Because of that, the nation's 109th-ranked player in the 2011 Rivals150 can stay open in a process where he's being recruited by Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Indiana, UCLA, Georgia Tech and other schools from all the BCS conferences.
"He's hearing from a million different schools," Smith said. "The advice I've given him is to just wait until after the final four and wait until the coaching carousel and transfers finish."