Noah Hutchins, who won the Allen Wilson Award in 2019 as the Western New York High School Player of the Year, announced Sunday his commitment to Rice University.
The 6-foot, 160-pound point guard recently completed a postgraduate season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and was starting guard for the Ascenders' postgraduate national team, one of several teams IMG puts on the court.
Two IMG seniors from the undergraduate national team, Jaden Springer and Mark Williams, have committed to Tennessee and Duke, respectively. Both were selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game in Houston. The game had been scheduled for April 1.
Asked he main reason he chose Rice from other scholarship offers he has received, Hutchins' answer was simple.
"The fit," he said.
Hutchins made his visit to the Houston campus during the Christmas break after tweeting that he had received a scholarship offer from Rice. On his visit, Noah met with the coaching staff, the faculty advisor to the athletic teams and a professor from the business school. He was able to watch the Owls in action for a home game.
Hutchins has a head start towards his college studies. This semester he's taking courses in marketing and math at Erie Community College. As a postgrad student at IMG, it was not mandatory that he physically attend classes at the school.
One thing that fit at Rice was course selection.
"Rice offers a major in entrepreneurship that is one of the best," Hutchins said.
There also is a fit in basketball. Rice had basically an underclass roster last season, but one of the seniors was starting point guard Ako Adams.
A member of Conference USA, Rice is one of the most prestigious non-public universities in the country, ranking with Stanford, Vanderbilt and SMU as private schools that compete in conferences with mostly state-supported institutions.
Scott Pera, a Pennsylvania native, completed his third season as head coach after serving as an assistant. Pera's record at Rice is 35-60 after going 15-17 this past season with a 7-11 conference record. The Rice season ended with a first-round lost to FIU in the C-USA tournament. The Owls play in 5,208-capacity Tudor Field House on campus. The facility opened in 1950 but was renovated in 2007. The basketball locker and team rooms are in the process of being renovated.
"It's small, but it gets pretty loud there," Hutchins said.
Hutchins was a four-year starter and two-time All-Western New York first team selection. He helped the Pioneers to the state Class A Federation championship in 2018 with his last second basket against Albany Academy, then led Park to a berth in the Fed final in 2019 against the same opponent.
He was the Monsignor Martin Association Player of the Year and MVP of the Manhattan Cup playoffs in 2018-19. He scored 1,309 points in his career at Park, where his father, Marcus, is director of athletics and his brother, Caleb, was a standout last season as a junior.