Ahmad Starks has known where he wanted to play college basketball for quite some time.
Starks gave Oregon State a verbal commitment in August 2008, even though he couldn't sign a letter of intent for another year.
That year is up. Starks, a 5-foot-8, 150-pound guard out of Whitney Young High in Chicago, made his commitment to Oregon State official on Tuesday with a letter of intent to play for the Beavers.
He helped the Dolphins win a 4A state title as a junior, averaging 10 points a game. Starks is ranked as the No. 25 high school point guard by Scout.com.
OSU coach Craig Robinson and his family used to live in Chicago and his son, Avery, played basketball with Starks.
"I've known Ahmad since he was in fifth grade," Robinson said. "He and my son had played together back when we lived in Chicago. So I've known Ahmad for a long time, so I've seen him grow as a player and saw him a lot last summer with his AAU team and am really excited to have him on board."
Some might do a double-take when looking at Stark's size, but the Pacific-10 Conference has had its share of small guards such as 5-7 Tajuan Porter of Oregon and 5-10 Jerome Randle of California.
"There were a couple of articles talking about how this league has been known for having really good small guards like Tajuan Porter and Jerome Randal and now the next in line is Ahmad Starks, that's what we feel," Robinson said. "We feel that we've got a small guard to match up with some of the smaller guards that are in this league."
Starks was also recruited by Northwestern, Valparaiso and Illinois-Chicago and received interest from Marquette, Purdue, Stanford, Virginia and Xavier.
The Beavers play with two guards that share point guard responsibilities and Robinson said Starks should be a good fit.
"The great thing is if we keep getting guards like him who can shoot, then it doesn't matter if he plays the point guard or he's taking shots," Robinson said.
Robinson said Starks is athletic, a strong outside shooter and has excellent basketball knowledge.
"He is a student of the game and then on top of it he's got a level of toughness and he's historically won at every level he's played at," Robinson said. "You put all that together and that's a nice package to have in this league."