Walking into the City College of New York gymnasium on a snowy Friday afternoon, I was ready to watch some great high school programs battle for an invitational championship. I was overwhelmed by the amount of potential that was found at one of the schools, however. Over at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, New York, senior guards Khadeen Carrington and Mike Williams both have a chance to represent their school as All-Americans, as well as in Division-I basketball.
Carrington recently inked a letter of intent to attend Seton Hall, while his teammate and close friend Williams will be heading around the bend to Rutgers University. Although the two schools rival each other, the electric tandem admits their friendship will not take a hit when their paths separate next year.
One Friday at the SNY Invitational, I entered the gym not really knowing how much to expect out of either Carrington or Williams, only knowing both were ranked within ESPN’s top ten in the state and both had signed letters of intent to play at major universities.
With a lively atmosphere, the televised tournament carried a sense of pressure, pitting Cardozo High School (Bayside, NY), St. Mary’s (Manhasset, NY), Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, NY) and the notorious Jersey powerhouse, St. Anthony’s (Jersey City, NJ), led by coaching legend Bob Hurley Sr., against each other.
Awaiting the show that Williams and Carrington were to put on during the second game of the double-header, and still having my own rather moderate expectations, it only took about five minutes from the tip to see these two players were the real deal.
Khadeen Carrington is a 6-3, 185-pound humble senior that broke his school’s scoring record earlier this season. The crafty left-handed guard gets it done on both ends of the floor and can gracefully finish when he heads to the rim. But don’t let that fool you; his athleticism is a big part of his game, and if his defender falls asleep, he is looking to make the highlight dunk. Kevin Willard â€“ head coach of Seton Hall â€“ couldn’t be more excited about the player he is receiving next season, saying, “What I love most about [Carrington] is that he’s a tough, hard-nosed New York City ball player.”
Carrington, the prototypical New York city ballplayer who is willing to do whatever it takes to win, will be entering Seton Hall with two other freshmen. When asked what he will provide, he responded with words like “energy” and “leadership.” As a coach, you can’t ask for much more out of an incoming freshman looking to prove his worth to a bigger audience.
On the other side of the spectrum is Carrington’s close friend and teammate, Mike Williams, the 6-2, 175-pound guard also out of Brooklyn. Williams actually hit the 1,000-point mark earlier this season in the same game that Carrington broke the school’s all-time scoring record. Williams noted that once he found out that both records could be broken in the same game, nothing would stop them. Williams is excited about the step to the next level, especially knowing Carrington will be on the same stage.
“We’ve talked about who’s going to come up on top,” Williams said. “It’s only going to escalate from here on out.”
Rutgers University is getting a lights-out shooter next season. They will need all the offense they can get as they prepare to move into the Big 10 conference and face teams such as Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State. Williams is ready for the competition.
“I love playing against the top players in the nation,” he said. “I love the challenge.”
Eddie Jordan, the head coach at Rutgers, also thinks Williams is capable of accepting that challenge.
“He’s one of the top shooters in New York,” Jordan said. “I think he’s the best.”
When asked about coach Jordan’s comments, Williams put on a grin and laughed.
“I feel like I am the best shooter in the state,” he said, adding: “I feel like no one can shoot better than me.”
This came on the heels of a terrific shooting performance in the first round of the SNY Invitational. Williams went 9-for-16 from the field and 6-for-6 from behind the three-point line, finishing with 26 points. His partner-in-crime, Khadeen Carrington, also finished that same game with 26 points. The two combined for 52 out of the Lions’ 81 total points.
Bishop Loughlin would triumph over the St. Anthony’s Friars in the championship game the next day, defeating them, 69-55. Carrington recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds and took the tournament’s MVP honors, while Williams would finish with 17 points and a total of 9-for-12 from three-point land over the two-day tournament.
Talking to a few high school journalists after the championship game, the likelihood of the two both becoming All-Americans is a real possibility. High school basketball is heading into the home stretch of the season and both Carrington and Williams have proved they will be capable players at the next level. Winning a league championship could be all it takes for the All-American panel to book the two seniors trips to Chicago for the big game on April 2.
“It’s an honor,” Mike Williams said on his chance of becoming an All-American. “The fact that I’m nominated and have a chance to make it is the greatest feeling in the world.”
Likewise, Carrington feels the same.
“It’s a great possibility,” he said. “I’m just grateful to be nominated. That’s a blessing for me.”
The potential these two players hold is noteworthy. However, the one thing they both want more than anything now is a Catholic League championship. Bishop Loughlin has not won a championship in over 20 years. Even as the two push to become a pair of All-Americans, as Carrington said, “It’s championship or bust.”
What do you think?
Follow Steve on Twitter at @Steve_Scafidi.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.