Air Force demands a unique type of student-athlete.

This resume qualifies: 4.3 high school GPA, aspiring astrophysicist, recruiting interest from Brown and Harvard. Oh, and Phhoenix (Ariz.) Prep star Carter Van Hammond stands 6-foot-9.

“I want to go put a rock into space. If any college can get me ready to do that, it's Air Force," Van Hammond told The Gazette on Saturday after giving a verbal commitment to the Falcons basketball program.

Joe Scott’s program got a good one in Van Hammond, who carried offers from Navy and Northern Arizona.

He’s a rising senior in the Class of 2021. Van Hammond earned an offer from the Dave Pilipovich regime and Scott, who was hired in the spring, honored the offer.

Van Hammond’s high school team features at least four Division I recruits, including Jalen Scott, a guard committed to Colorado State. Van Hammond can sign with Air Force in November.

Phhoenix Prep competes in the Grind Session, the same travel circuit as Colorado Prep.

“The academy, it’s just gorgeous. It’s a dream come true,” said Van Hammond, who last summer attended an Air Force basketball camp. “I just can’t wait to get started there.”

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)


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