Lawrence Academy point guard Shabazz Napier committed to the University of Connecticut over the weekend, ending months of courtship from a host of other schools ranging from the Big East to the ACC and Pac-10.
Arguably one of the nation's elite playmakers when it comes to creativity, the Dorchester resident has been ranked in the top 60 nationally for the Class of 2011.
But here's where it gets tricky. Napier's scholarship offer from the Huskies was there for him to take in 2010 or 2011, but he was encouraged to take it for this upcoming year. This is the fifth year of high school for Napier, who transferred to the Groton-based preparatory school two seasons ago after three years at Charlestown, and re-classified as a sophomore.
The 6-foot Napier, who will turn 19 in June, has already met the minimum academic requirements for eligibility by the NCAA. But he will need to meet Lawrence Academy's own academic requirements before moving on, according to head coach Kevin Wiercinski. The plan currently figures him to enroll in Storrs this fall.
All that said, this is a great pickup for the Huskies, who would be able to pair Napier alongside Kemba Walker should the latter choose to return for his junior season. Napier's ability to instinctively find the open man, run the floor smoothly and nail down 3's at will had him catching the eyes of Georgetown, Kentucky and even Duke before making his commitment.
This season, Napier led Lawrence Academy to an unbeaten season and the New England Prep Class C title, beating St. Mark's of Southborough in the championship game.
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