Hoops star turns down Pitt scholarship for prep school

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Usually, when a basketball recruit is being chased by Pitt, it's a pretty sure sign he's made it. Incredibly, that's what made Jaylen Bond determined to drop college hoops altogether in the 2011-12 season.

As profiled by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, Bond decided to forego his expected freshman year of college basketball to attend a prep school for a year and work on his game instead. And, as it turns out, it was Pitt's determination to turn him into a dominant Big East power forward in the mold of former star DeJuan Blair that convinced him he wasn't ready for the college game yet.

Instead, Bond -- who recently graduated from Plymouth (Pa.) Whitemarsh High -- will attend St. Thomas More (Conn.) School, where he will try to transition from being a bruising power forward to a more athletic wing forward.

"I want to work on my perimeter skills," Bond told the Inquirer. "I need to work on that and my ballhandling because I'm playing the three [small forward] at St. Thomas More. They said they are going to put the ball in my hands."

While Bond's motivations for the extra year of prep seasoning could be considered noble, it's also highly likely that he won't get interest from a school with as high a profile as Pitt again. Other colleges stayed away from recruiting Bond until after he was released from his Pitt scholarship when he enrolled at St. Thomas More. Now, he's being chased by Temple and Penn State, though Tennessee and Maryland are also said to be interested.

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Whether that interest will transfer into a firm scholarship offer remains to be seen, but his courage to walk away from a perennial national power like Pitt can only be considered a show of outward courage and confidence in his own ability by other schools.

"Basically, I'm looking for a conference that has good competition," said Bond, who added that he hopes to receive playing time as a freshman. "Basically, I'm trying to weigh my options and see what's best for me."

Kudos to Bond for knowing that Pitt wasn't best for him, even if it would have brought maximum exposure and the likelihood of annual trips to the NCAA tournament.

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