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Jon Severe broke down and paused multiple times while thanking his family and Christ the King before trying to tell the large contingent of teammates and fellow students who had gathered in the school’s gym where he would be playing next year.
Those in attendance Wednesday had to wait a little longer when he realized the school’s hat was not in his book bag and CK coach Joe Arbitello had to fetch it out of his office. Once that was in place Severe, New York state’s top senior, told everyone he was staying close to home to play for Fordham University.
“I felt at home,” said Severe, the best recruit Fordham has landed in more than a decade. “I felt comfortable. I was just ready for my decision.”
Severe moved up his announcement date from May 22, the Royals sports awards night, to this week after growing tired of the recruiting process and wanting to end the ever-growing speculation about where he would land.
“I didn’t know until two days ago where he was going to go,” CK Coach Joe Arbitello said. “I wasn’t even sure. Maybe he was going to pull out a hat that says ‘Queens College’ on it.”
Severe, the reigning New York State Mr. Basketball, picked the Rams over Rutgers, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wake Forest to end weeks of speculation. He fueled the guessing more when a day prior to the announcement the 6-foot-2 shooting guard received an in-home visit from new Rutgers Coach Eddie Jordan. Severe was considering the school before former Coach Mike Rice was fired.
“If Rutgers didn’t drag their feet in hiring Eddie Jordan, the outcome might have been different,” Arbitello said.
Severe averaged 21.6 points per game this year. He led Christ the King to the diocesan, city and state Federation Class AA titles. He wants to bring that winning pedigree to a Fordham program that has struggled in recent years.
“I think I can change the whole program around,” Severe said.
He is part of a strong recruiting class that includes forward Manny Suarez, wing Jake Fay, point guard Chris Whitehead and shooting guard Antwoine Anderson. Severe said Fordham lost a lot of close games last year, including a four-point defeat to conference power Butler. He thinks they can make an impact right away.
“I know we are going to win,” Severe said. “You just got that feeling. You follow your gut. I’m used to winning…I think we are just missing a couple pieces.”
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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