Syracuse basketball offered 2022 big Peter Carey on Thursday. It was just his second high major offer (the other was from Rutgers), with both coming over the last month. That begs the question, how has he been this under the radar? New York Lightning coach Jesse Shapiro says he has blossomed over the last few months.
"Peter's a good kid," Shapiro said. "He could've easily gone off and played with EYBL team after about a month and a half ago. He just stuck with the process. It all started with New England Jam Fest in late May. A lot of sneaker teams were there and he just went off. Doing stuff he's never done before. I think it comes with mental toughness and trusting the process. Being at Northfield is huge for anybody doing what he's doing. Like I said, we beat two sneaker teams to win the whole thing. He dominated a top 60 kid. That's really when it all started. The following weekend, we went down to Boo Williams for Southern Jam Fest by Hoop Group. There were so many media outlets there and coaches and important people. He did it again, three straight games. Boo Williams is a legend in my eyes. He's been doing this the longest. He pointed him out to some people. Some people are still in this for the right reasons. We played Team Takeover and Keith Stevens. They whooped us pretty good but even he said after the game, 'you have a high major kid on your hands.'
"The more he plays the better he gets, and it just kept happening for him. A few mid-majors offered. The Director of New York Lightning, Shandue McNeill, is good friends with one of the assistant coaches at Syracuse, so he mentioned it to him. They've been on him ever since. Coach Autry's the man and they really like what he has the capabilities of doing down the road. He's not there yet offensively, but you're getting an immediate impact player on the defensive end of the floor. Somebody who can rim run with the best of them. He's really picking it up. We have a huge weekend coming up this weekend. He's so thrilled and so excited about the offer. I am too for him. It doesn't really get better than that."
Carey is from Massachusetts. The New York Lightning are based out of, obviously, New York. So how did a kid from Massachusetts end up with an AAU program in New York?
"The story with that, obviously John Carroll is the head coach at Northfield Mount Hermon," Shapiro said. "Very close friend of mine. It's actually a funny story of how I met Peter. Last year when COVID hit, I was doing Zoom workouts through New York Lightning. We would just invite any kids who wanted to come. Obviously I would reach out to any coaches I knew and have them send their kids, and have them workout. The workouts were awesome because I would have a different guest come on each night to work them out. A couple NBA guys, couple college guys, couple college coaches, couple evaluators, it was great. So this kid keeps showing up to everything, Peter Carey.
"He was at everything. He didn't miss any. He emailed us and basically said, 'do you have more time to workout?' So I started working the kid out on an everyday basis over Zoom. Then we were able to get out to a few tournaments last year and I was like, 'hey, why don't you play with our team?' So he did and from there on out he's been with our program. He's just a great kid. Really good kid. Better kid than ball player."
While being a better kid than a ball player, that does not mean he cannot ball. Carey can flat out play.
"Defensively, he's just such a threat, it's ridiculous," Shapiro said. "I think that's what the coaching staff at the 'Cuse liked. He competes at the defensive end. He's all over the place. He can fit their zone really well."
Some places have Carey listed at 6-11 and about 190 pounds. Shapiro says he is bigger than that and has room to grow.
"Right now he's 210 and seven foot," Shapiro said. "He's a legit footer and he's 210. He looks like a baby still. I'm basing him on what he's going to be in two years. One more year of high school then hopefully this can happen. Two years from now, that kid is going to be very special if he sticks to working hard."
Carey was quite excited about the offer from Syracuse.
"It was priceless," Shapiro said. "He's walking on the moon now. I've spoke a few times since we were able to make it public, he's thrilled. I told him there's going to be a bullseye on your back now. You better be ready for it."
What's next for Carey and his relationship with Syracuse? He has to get on campus, which should happen soon.
"At this point, he's definitely coming to visit in August," Shapiro said. "He's going to be at the elite camp. What it's really going to come down to is what him and his family want to do. What he thinks is best for his overall game. Just to be totally upfront and honest, we've got to see if he can play at this level more. Syracuse is Syracuse. You've got to make sure that you are able to perform at that level on a regular basis. He would love to come there, and coach Boeheim said it best, 'you need to come see the place first and see what he thinks of it.' And then he'll make his decision."