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April 21, 2011

Ex-Towson Catholic PG Kareem Storey to Pac-12

After a high school career best characterized by uncertainty and instability, Kareem Storey sought a college experience filled with promise and the opportunity to build something new.

On Saturday, the West Baltimore native and former Towson Catholic point guard found just what he was looking for. During an official visit to Utah, Storey offered his commitment to first-year coach Larry Krystkowiak, who will guide the Utes as they transition from the Mountain West to Pac-12 conference play.

“It’s exciting,” said Storey, who also considered Iona, Nebraska and South Florida. “My mother, she started crying. It was great. Everybody was happy for me. … [I’m looking forward to] new surroundings, getting involved in a new environment, adapting to a new environment and getting to know new people.”

Storey has spent the past year at Princeton Day Academy in Lanham. But the 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect’s seemingly unlikely journey to high-major basketball began at Towson Catholic in the fall of 2006. He spent three years with the Owls before the Archdiocese of Baltimore closed the school’s doors in the summer of 2009.

“It was really tough because when [Towson Catholic] shut down, I didn’t know what I was going to do the next year,” Storey said. “I really didn’t want to stay in the city because of the violence. My mother really wanted me to get away from the city.”

After briefly considering City and Lake Clifton, Storey decided on spending his senior year at the Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers – a public charter school in Washington. At KIMA, Storey said he took his game up a notch.

“That basically started my recruitment,” he said. “I think going to D.C. and having a fresh start and having the opportunity made all the difference in the world.”

Last June, the D.C. Public Charter School Board pegged KIMA as an “under-performing” school and revoked its charter. Storey, however, was unaffected by the closing of his second high school in as many years. Needing an additional English core credit and a better SAT score, he headed to Princeton Day Academy for a post-graduate year.

It didn’t take long for Storey to flourish on the prep school basketball scene. Storm coach Chris Chaney hadn’t seen Storey play before last fall, but in less than a year, he saw plenty of growth in his game.

“Everybody talked about his quickness and his toughness and stuff like that,” Chaney said. “A lot of time he just played the game at one speed. Now I think he learned a lot by playing the game at different speeds, when to do things, when not to do things [and] being more of a leader at the point guard position. I think he did a really good job of that. People that saw him play before and saw him play this year, everybody talked about how different of a player he looked like.”

As Chaney’s starting point guard, Storey averaged 12.5 points and 8.4 assists, leading PDA (26-7) to a fifth-place finish in the National Prep Championship standings.

“I just think getting in the right environment,” was beneficial for Storey, Chaney said. “Things happen for a reason and you play at a couple different schools, sometimes play for a new coach and different coaches and different styles. It really mixes [things] up. I think me and him really bonded and were good for each other.”

Several mid- and high-major programs took notice of Storey’s play. Colorado State assistant DeMarlo Slocum was one of the more interested college coaches. On April 10, Krystkowiak lured Slocum away from Fort Collins to Salt Lake City. Soon after, Storey got the good news from Utah's newest assistant.

“[Slocum] called me and told me about Utah,” Storey said. “He said he wanted me to come out and check it out. It was a great opportunity. I went down and played with the guys on the team. It felt like home. Players on the team accepted me. They were friendly and showed me around campus. It was great.”

Storey said the Utah coaches liked his unselfishness and enthusiasm for playing defense. He’s hoping to be a big part of the Utes’ building efforts in the Pac-12.

“They want me to come in and not only be a contributor, but contribute and step right in,” Storey said. “They’re looking for me to get on the floor and make changes to help get this program to where it’s supposed to be.”

While his path to high-major basketball was anything but direct, Storey never gave up hope in realizing his dream.

“I knew that I had it inside of me,” Storey said. “I just needed an opportunity.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Comments

Storey,

Just want to say welcome to Utah! We are excited to have you and watch you play.

Darren

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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