Some Wake Forest fans must have thought the Demon Deacons had Jaelin Llewellyn.
Llewellyn is a four-star ESPN recruit whose father Cordell played with Wake Forest, as well as Rhode Island.
But last month, Llewellyn chose Princeton over the likes of Wake Forest, Virginia, Purdue, Cincinnati, Florida and Ohio State, less than seven weeks after he gave an interview to Phenom Hoops Report in which he did not include Princeton in the 11 teams expressing strong interest in him (although he did include Harvard).
“Ivy League Basketball, particularly with the addition of a postseason tournament, has never had a higher profile than it does right now,” concluded Ned Harwood of Blogger So Dear, SB Nation’s Wake Forest blog, also noting that Yale’s Makai Mason garnered graduate transfer recruitment from Duke, Notre Dame and Gonzaga.
Still, Harwood admitted that he never expected to have to write that one of Wake’s top recruiting targets committed to an Ivy League school over the Deacs.
But I’m guessing a lot of Clemson fans didn’t expect Jordan Bruner would pick Yale over the Tigers. I know there was much surprise when Bryce Aiken selected Harvard instead of Miami or Seton Hall after fellow four-star recruits Chris Lewis and Robert Baker, Jr. also turned Crimson in that class.
The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Llewellyn is a high-caliber point guard, ranked as the No. 22 point man in the class of 2018 and the No. 124 player in the class overall, according to 247Sports.
The Ontario native is, per DraftExpress.com, an explosive athlete with strong footwork off the dribble and on defense, and he should make a scoring impact right away for Princeton.
But it was Llewellyn’s response to Patrick O’Brien of Phenom Hoops Report’s question in June about what he was looking for in prospective programs that should leave Ivy hoops fans further encouraged:
“Places that offer a high level of academics so I know I’ll be set for when basketball stops,” Llewellyn told O’Brien. “A place where I know I’ll develop each year I’m there because I have goals of playing professionally. And a place where I have the opportunity to play as soon as I step on campus.”
Ivy League basketball offers each of those benefits for top-notch standouts like Llewellyn, and high school student-athletes in his position are starting to realize that with increasing regularity. Llewellyn’s surprise commitment to Princeton underscores that promising reality.