Class of 2011 PG, Carmelo Betancourt decided to verbally commit to the University of Akron last night. Betancourt will spend a year at prep school and enroll at Akron in 2012. Betancourt will follow former BMA/CJEOTO point guard, Alex Abreu who started at PG for Akron as a Freshman.
Betancourt spent his senior year at powerhouse Montrose Christian in Rockville, Maryland. The 5'11 guard is widely considered to be one of the top 5 players in the Puerto Rico in the Class of 2011. Betancourt had been getting interest from several high majors including Georgetown, UCLA, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
"I went on a visit to Akron and I really liked it. Everything out there was like brand new. The school is great, the facilities are awesome and Coach Dambrot and his staff recruited me really hard. My teammates were really cool and we got a lot of talent on that team too. They only have one PG on the team and Alex (Abreu) is going to be like my big brother. At first, I didn't think going out there made sense because Alex was out there and I didn't want to compete with another player from home but it is not like that. We are going to push each other and he will be a Junior when I am a Freshman. Coach Dambrot made it clear that he would put the ball in my hands and give me a chance as a Freshman to get a lot time on the floor," said Betancourt.
Betancourt's decision to attend a mid major is similar to what JJ Barea did several years ago by attending Northeastern. Betancourt's size and game are very similar to JJ and clearly JJ's success this year motivated Carmelo to follow the same path and attend a mid major.
"There is no question that I could have chosen to go to a bigger school in one of the top conferences. That is something every player wants to do at the same time Akron plays in a great conference with really good teams. We made it to the tournament this year too," said Betancourt.
The decision to go to a mid major versus a high major is a tough decision for a lot of players. Many times players get caught up in the hype and trying to impress their friends and family by selecting the most well known school versus the school that best fits their skill level and style of play. Betancourt's performance coach, Todd Washington thinks Betancout made the right decision by selecting Akron.
"Melo has high major talent. There were several high major programs interested in him as a back up PG. And, with the additional year of Prep School he would have gotten several high major offers. The JJ Barea model makes a lot of sense. Go to a smaller school, kill the league and make a name for yourself. This is exactly what Alex Abreu did. Alex had both Utah and Nebraska ready to offer but was smart enough to recognize that Akron is a program on the rise which he could help take to the level. This extra year of prep school will prepare Melo to come and and make a serious contribution. Akron is getting a fantastic player and even better person. He and "Double A" (Alex Abreu) are going to push each other both on and off the floor. Alex had an incredible season and he is probably as excited as anyone that Melo is going to come up there. Aron is a program on the rise and we want to develop a pipeline from Puerto Rico to Akron. Coach D and his staff did a great job with Alex this year and we are all confident that Melo will have the same level of success. " said Washington.