TRENTON, NEW JERSEY -- Ever since his fantastic summer of 2001 on the basketball circuit, rumors have swirled that Carmelo Anthony might be mulling a jump to the NBA this coming spring.
But in talking to Oak Hill Academy Head Coach Steve Smith last night at the Prime Time Shootout in Trenton, N.J., it appears that his 6-7, 190 pound senior small forward really has college on his mind.
Of course, that news should come as a relief to Syracuse University and its passionate basketball fans, since that's the school with whom Anthony inked in the fall.
Smith feels that there is a 95 percent chance that Anthony will attend college based on his conversations with the talented Baltimore native. He said that Anthony has told him he would only seriously consider a jump if he were projected as a top five overall selection in the June 2002 NBA Draft.
"He says he wants to go to college," Smith said. "He's different from most guys in that he never really talks about it [the NBA]."
"Last year, we had DeSagana [Diop], and all he talked about was getting drafted," Smith continued. "It was a big thing for him to have a chance to play in the NBA."
Smith recently attended a Charlotte Hornets game with Anthony, and the Syracuse signee's comments seemed to point toward snowy upstate New York.
"We were sitting in a half-filled Charlotte Coliseum, and he remarked that it was boring," Smith said. "I think he is looking forward to the atmosphere in college, the big crowds, the Carrier Dome."
Another incentive for Anthony to attend Syracuse is that he would be the first person in his family to enroll in a college, Smith said.
Anthony has enjoyed an excellent season for Oak Hill, which had lost just two games coming into this weekend's Prime Time Shootout.
"He's played extremely well for us," Smith said. "He's probably had only one or two bad games all year."
"He carries us a lot, and that's only taking 14-15 shots a game, so he's not just jacking it up," Smith continued. "Hopefully on Sunday, he does not get into a one on one battle with LeBron James."
Of course, Smith is referring to Anthony's [and Oak Hill's] much anticipated match up against St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S. of Akron, Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Last year, Oak Hill eked out a close victory over St. Vincent-St. Mary at an event in Columbus, Ohio.
Anthony did not play in that game last year, since he was attending Towson Catholic H.S. in Maryland at the time. He transferred to Oak Hill for the 2001-2002 season in order to boost his academic credentials.
Last night in a victory over St. Patrick H.S. of New Jersey, Anthony pumped in 17 points despite getting into early foul trouble. He was particularly effective from midrange, draining several jumpers in the second half to help the Warriors pull away from the Celtics.
Coach Smith said that Anthony is still working on attaining a qualifying test score, and the Insiders Report/Rivalshoops.com will keep you posted on his future plans and academic status as the spring approaches.