Here’s how the story goes …
or, at least how Yosef Yacob tells it.
Yacob took a seat at the
barbershop earlier this week, beside Rondae Jefferson. The All-Delco seniors –
Yacob at Archbishop Carroll, Jefferson at Chester – struck up a conversation
while they were getting a trim.
Yacob told Jefferson he had
made his choice and would commit verbally to Binghamton. That’s when, Yacob
said, Jefferson spilled the beans.
“He told me he was going to
pick Arizona,” said Yacob, a Chester native. “I was all smiles. I said, ‘That’s
great.’ He was smiling, too.”
That’s because Jefferson knew
he had made his decision, too.
Jefferson narrowed his choices,
from an innumerable stack of letters to seven schools. Thursday, in his home,
he met with Arizona coach Sean Miller, to whom Jefferson gave his verbal
commitment to join the Wildcats for the 2013-14 season.
Jefferson has been out west a
few times this summer, visiting the training ground for USA basketball in
Colorado Springs, Colo., and playing in the Under Armour Elite 24 event in
Venice Beach, Calif.
So he’s at least comfortable
with the surroundings, which justified his visit to the Tucson, Ariz., campus
earlier this month.
Jefferson picked Arizona ahead
of Florida, Memphis, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Texas.
“I just feel like, when I get
there, it’ll be my team,” Jefferson said. “I’m going to be the big piece on a
team that’s going to win the ‘chip.”
Jefferson’s star shined
brightest last season, his talents coinciding with one of the most historic
seasons in Chester High program history.
Jefferson averaged 12.1
points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.7 blocks per game for Chester (32-0),
which finished the season having claimed consecutive PIAA Class AAAA
championships and with a top-five ranking nationally according to three
The Daily Times’ Player of the
Year, Jefferson also was PIAA Player of the Year, after having directed the
Clippers to their first perfect season in school history. They picked up their
eighth state title – the most among Pennsylvania schools – established a
school-record with a 58-game (and counting) winning streak, as well as winning
the District One and Del Val League crowns.
That’s largely thanks to
Jefferson, the lanky, multi-talented point guard stuck in a forward’s body.
So at the end of last season,
and the start of the summer recruiting stretch, Jefferson reduced his list of
suitors to seven. He didn’t want any excess phone calls. That left seven
schools as his potential college destinations.
An argument could have been
made that Temple was the most-suitable spot, being that his brother – Chester
All-Delco Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson – has had three strong seasons there. Same
could be said for Rutgers, with coach Mike Rice demonstrating such a dogged
recruiting bid Jefferson for the last three years. Or even Memphis, with one of
Jefferson’s friends, three-time American Christian All-Delco Tyreke Evans,
having spent one season there.
Instead, it was Arizona. It’s
where Jefferson said he felt at home.
Labels: Arizona, Chester, college commitments, Eric Hartline, Rahlir Jefferson, Rondae Jefferson, Tyreke Evans, Yosef Yacob