Area high school basketball fans who thought they wouldn’t get to see Charles Tucker Jr. play when he transferred away from Lansing Eastern for his senior year can see at least one game via TV.
His previously nationally ranked Montrose Christian team (10-3) from Rockville, Md., will face St. Benedict High School of Newark, N.J., at 2 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU. St. Benedict (14-0) is ranked 11th in the latest ESPN 25 Power Rankings of the nation’s top high school teams.
Tucker, who helped the Quakers reach No. 1 in Class A for a week last season and finish 19-4, has started every game but one at point guard for the Mustangs.
“I miss all of my Eastern High School friends and the whole community,” he said. “My parents come visit me every so often, but it it makes you appreciate being able to come home and see people I have known most of my life.”
Yet Tucker doesn’t regret his choice.
“I feel like I’m a much smarter player, much improved, more polished player than when I left,” he said. “I’m proud of the decision I made so far.”
Tucker is averaging seven points, five assists and two steals per game, and earlier this month was named co-most valuable player of a Washington D.C. area event called the More Than Basketball Showcase. He scored 17 points and added nine assists in a 77-66 loss to Washington D.C.’s Theodore Roosevelt in front of a sold-out crowd that dropped Montrose Christian from its No. 15 ranking.
The Mustangs had maintained that ranking even after going 2-2 in the Iolani Classic in Hawaii because the setbacks came against No. 9 Oak Hill (17-2) of Mouth of Wilson, Va., and No. 2 Findlay Prep (17-0) of Las Vegas. Tucker had no turnovers against a Findlay Prep team that includes six NCAA Division I recruits.
“This season has been eye-opening with the competition level,” Tucker said. “We’re playing mid-major to high Division I recruits — if not multiples — — every night.”But having those kind of guys on your team helps prepare you for those nights.”
The Montrose Christian roster includes Baylor-bound Ishmail Wainright, who averages nearly a triple-double.
“We run North Carolina’s offense, a sort of a run-and-gun,” Tucker said. “We try to get the ball up the floor as quick as possible.”
Tucker is going to wait to see if he garners more interest from other Division I schools as the season progresses. The schools that have shown the strongest interest are George Washington, Princeton, Dartmouth and South Alabama.
“I’m not really too caught up in that,” he said. “I just want to go somewhere where it’s a good fit for me educationally and in style of play.”