NEW HAMPTON, N.H. -- Far removed from the streets of Washington, former Archbishop Carroll two-sport star Lawrence Moten displays his silky smooth moves in frozen central New Hampshire. With his projected heroics at Syracuse University on hold for a year, Moten has become a star in a different sky.
Moten, the only athlete ever named first-team All-Met in basketball and football as a junior and a senior, was to have played basketball for Syracuse this season. But low SAT scores coupled with the Proposition 48 rule derailed his hopes of perhaps starring in the wide-open Orangemen offense.
Moten had several options. One was to sit out his freshman season at Syracuse and concentrate on academics. That, however, would have meant forfeiting a year of eligibility. He could have remained at home and re-applied to colleges in a year, but he didn't want to miss a year of competition.
The final option was to enroll as a postgraduate student in a preparatory school and hone both his academics and his basketball. Syracuse assistant Wayne Morgan steered Moten to the New Hampton School, a prestigious -- and expensive -- academy 40 miles north of Manchester.
"I made over 100 phone calls, contacting prep schools through the spring and summer," Morgan said. "I wanted to see who was interested and who had money available. I've gotten to know the people at New Hampton since the experience with Lawrence and they are pleased with him academically and athletically."
Moten says he also is delighted with the choice. "I see this as a learning experience," he said. "It's a big adjustment. Everyone here was a star at home."
New Hampton School could have been the setting for the film "Dead Poets Society," with its rolling fields, snow-capped trees after a fresh squall and the rocky peaks of the White Mountains minutes away. It's a long way from the District for Moten, this quaint burg with its white clapboard church and country store.
"We have ESPN wired to our dorm," Moten said. "So I get all the important news up here."
Moten keeps in contact with what's important in his life 500 miles to the south by calling his mother, Lorraine Burgess, every night ("She's behind me 100 percent," he said). He also keeps in touch with high school coach Carroll Holmes and former backcourt mate Charles Harrison, now the starting point guard at Georgetown.
"He's having a great rookie season," Moten said. "I can't wait for Charles and I to go at each other next year."
Judging by his basketball performance this winter, Moten should have little trouble easing in to Jim Boeheim's system at Syracuse. Playing the off-guard position, the 6-foot-4 Moten is averaging 25 points a game against other New England prep schools and several Ivy League junior varsity teams. He averaged 28 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals for Carroll his senior season, then opted for Syracuse over Georgetown and Seton Hall.
"Lawrence scores 30 points easier than anyone I've ever seen," said Coach Whit Lesure, whose team is 17-1. "The bigger the game, the more he likes it. He'll show individual flashes at times, but he has good sense. He's got the best athletic instincts of anyone I've coached in my nine years here."
Moten, working out recently with a Kenner League T-shirt under his practice jersey, says the competition among New England prep schools is "mighty difficult. The game here is faster and more aggressive. There are more big bodies than at home." Weight training has enabled Moten to gain 12 pounds to 192 since the year began.
The 300 students at New Hampton were also treated to Moten's prowess on the football field last autumn. He joined the squad in the middle of the season after deciding against running cross-country, then led the Huskies to an 8-1 record, splitting time at wide receiver and safety. The only blemish: a 28-27 New England prep schools league title game loss to Choate (Conn.), a defeat that still irks Moten.
After all, he has only one year at New Hampton to win these championships.
"Lawrence knows what he's getting out of it," Athletic Director Mark Tilton said. "He's focused and it's working for him. It's not just the athletes we get here. Small schools enable the student to receive close attention."
It's not cheap, though: Total expenses at New Hampton are $16,800 a year, comparable to the nation's most prestigious private colleges and universities. There are no athletic scholarships, and Moten is receiving a financial aid package for the year he is enrolled.
Moten takes a general preparatory curriculum, with algebra and English courses, as well as an SAT class. He has taken the test twice, falling just short of 700 each time. But Moten said the class has helped "an awful lot," and that the next time he'll be successful.
He insists the long hours and hard work that led him to becoming a two-sport standout at Carroll should not be an excuse for his year at New Hampton. "Maybe it was meant for it be like this," he said. He insists basketball will be his only varsity sport at Syracuse.
Moten returned home over the Christmas holiday and plans to spend his month-long spring break in Washington. These trips magnify the differences between his home and pastoral New Hampshire.
"It was kind of a change," Moten said. "Back home I was partying a lot. Here I have to go to bed early, but I was ready to come back. You don't hear the ambulance and police sirens up here. But that's the city."
Moten already can picture himself in an orange uniform, facing the likes of Georgetown and St. John's rather than Phillips Exeter Academy and Choate.
"We expect him to be at Syracuse next year," Morgan said. "Lawrence Moten will fit in anywhere, in any endeavor he undertakes in his life."
Said Moten: "I'm just taking everything one day at a time. Things are definitely going to work out. Definitely."