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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

LOCAL HERO: Hun School forward and Princeton native Noah Savage puts up a shot in Hun's opening night win over Blair Academy on December 10. Savage, who found out last week that he will be playing college basketball next year for Princeton University, will lead the 4-2 Raiders into the Trenton High School Holiday Tournament this weekend.
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Hun's Savage Makes Tigers' Lair, Sets Sights on Memorable Finale

By Bill Alden

Over the last few years, if you were looking for Noah Savage after school, it was a pretty safe bet that you'd find him in the Hun School gym

The 6'6 Savage, who transferred to Hun from Princeton High three years ago, has spent countless hours in the Hun gym honing his basketball skills.

For Savage, the short-term goal of his diligence was to make himself a force for the Raiders' basketball squad while his long-range aim was to someday play for the storied Princeton University basketball program.

While Savage long ago achieved his short-range objective, having come into this season with 793 career points for the Raiders, he learned this week that his dream of being a Tiger will become a reality as he was accepted by Princeton.

Savage celebrated the news by scoring a total of 47 points in three games this week as Hun went 2-1 in those contests, losing to powerful St. Benedict's 66-53 before beating Pennington 60-33 and Tabor Academy 58-54.

After the come-from-behind win over Tabor last Friday, Savage smiled as he reflected on getting the good news from Princeton.

"It's a real good feeling, I'm real excited about going there," said a smiling Savage, who is one of the top recruits for the basketball team's Class of 2008. "It's been a goal of mine for a while. It's a load off as far as not having to worry about other applications."

Savage made it clear, however, that knowing where he's headed for college won't diminish his focus on helping the Raiders have a big winter. "It doesn't affect anything about how I'm playing," explained the affable but driven Savage. "I wasn't playing well just to get into Princeton."

Indeed, it's Savage's approach to the game as a craft that has landed him at Old Nassau. "I'm a gym rat, I love being in the gym," said Savage. "I love working on my game, it's just something I love to do. I do that simply because I want to be a great player."

Hun head coach Jon Stone isn't surprised that Savage will be playing his college hoops across town for the Tigers.

"Noah wants to improve everyday," said Stone, a star during his college days at Colgate who is still in the school's top five in career scoring.

"I think it's great for him to be going to Princeton. He's wanted to go there for a while and the record of the program speaks for itself. We're proud of having Noah and proud that he's going there."

In Stone's view, Savage will make a solid impact for the Tigers. "It's going to be fun to watch him there," said Stone. "If you ask me how he's going to do there, I think he's going to do great because he has that desire to get better everyday."

Reflecting on his team's win over Tabor which saw the Raiders go on a 13-2 run in the last five minutes, Stone cited the savvy of Savage and senior point guard Mingus Murray.

"I thought Noah showed a lot of leadership," said Stone, whose club improved to 4-2 with the win.

"Those are the two guys who should show leadership. They know our system. They've been in a lot of big games and they know what to do."

If the Raiders play with the same precision and character they showed against Tabor, they should fare well in the big games ahead. "We had chances to pack it in today and just give up and we didn't do that," said Stone who got 17 points from Leo Nolan while Savage added 11 and Murray chipped in 16.

"It's a testament to these kids. This win today was a good one for us. That was a good team we played with some good players."

As Savage looks ahead to leading his mates in the Trenton High School Holiday Tournament on December 27 and 29, he thinks the team can build on the win over Tabor.

"We executed really well in the last three minutes today," said Savage. "I see progress but I really feel like our whole team isn't there yet. The team is a little banged up, a little sick, and I think we need to get back together. I think we can be a really, really good team. We're going to go and try to win that Trenton tournament."

Look for the Raiders to do well this weekend since it's not safe to bet against Savage when it comes to achieving his goals.

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