Prep basketball: Charles Tucker Jr. leaves Eastern

Prep basketball: Charles Tucker Jr. leaves Eastern

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Prep basketball: Charles Tucker Jr. leaves Eastern

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Basketball point guard Charles Tucker Jr. has left Eastern High School and attended his first day of classes on Monday at Montrose Christian School of Rockville, Md.

The 6-foot senior helped direct an offense that enabled the Quakers to earn a CAAC Blue title in 2010-11 and reach a No. 1 ranking in Class A during 2011-12. Tucker is transferring to the school that defeated Oak Hill to win the 2011 ESPN Rise National High School Tournament.

In his 14th year at Montrose Christian, Stu Vetter has been named coach of the year twice by USA Today and holds the longest winning streak in the Washington D.C. area of 59 games.

At least four alumni at the school, which was founded in 1977 and graduated its first senior class in 1986, have gone on to play in the National Basketball Association: Kevin Durant, Greivis Vasquez, Linas Kleiza and Terrence Ross.

“It wasn’t anything against Eastern, and anything I planned on,” Tucker said. “It was a great opportunity that came through a friend of mine who was on the USA (Under 16) team with me. I had to look into it as quickly as possible, took a visit, really liked it and stayed in constant contact with coaches.”

Besides Vetter and Eastern coach Rod Watts, Tucker talked with former Michigan State stars Steve Smith and Mateen Cleaves.

“Everybody said, after doing their research, that they were impressed with the academics, and it was up to me,” Tucker said. “I decided on it to prepare me spiritually, academically and athletically for college.”

Even Watts, while hoping Tucker would stay, was impressed with Vetter and the school.

Five recent graduates are among the many who have headed to NCAA Division I schools from Montrose Christian: Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year Justin Anderson to Virginia, Michael Carrera to South Carolina, Kevin Larsen to George Washington, Cedric Blossom to Morgan State and Bruce Beckford to North Carolina A&T. Current stars being recruited include Ishmail Wainwright and Jordan Swopshire.

A typical day will start in the gym, and be followed by breakfast, chapel, classes from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., weight training, study hour, and then practices or open gyms.

“One (NCAA) Division I coach told me they prepare kids for college better than any players in the country,” Charles Tucker Sr. said. “He said if you can get through their program, you’ll be a better person and player.”

His father said Cha Cha informed Eastern teachers and students last Friday.

“It was such a tough decision because the community of Lansing has been such a great home,” Cha Cha said. “To see the reaction from my peers made it tough. The Lansing School District helped put me in this situation.”

Tucker Sr. said NCAA Division I coaches have been known to watch Montrose Christian practices not only for potential recruits but also for ideas involving drills and preparation.

Montrose Christian hosted a coaches’ clinic last fall that included Vetter, Texas’ Rick Barnes, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Maryland’s Mark Turgeon, George Washington’s Kevin Sutton and George Mason’s Paul Hewitt.

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