Jon Severe is staying home.
The 6-foot-2 guard from Christ the King High School announced Wednesday that he would stay in New York and play at Fordham, choosing the Rams over Pitt, West Virginia, Wake Forest and Rutgers.
Severe is a huge get for Fordham coach Tom Pecora, whose team finished 7-24, 3-13 in the Atlantic 10 Conference last season.
“Next year I will be playing at Fordham University,” he announced during an emotional press conference at Christ the King.
“And so ends the longest five minutes of his life,” CTK coach Joe Arbitello joked after it took Severe several minutes to compose himself before announcing.
Severe’s announcement follows an 11th-hour meeting Tuesday night with new Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan and an appearance at the school earlier this week by Pitt coach Jamie Dixon.
Rutgers had been recruiting Severe under former coach Mike Rice and Jordan, who needs to add several players to the now-depleted roster, gave it his best chance.
“It was good,” Severe, the reigning New York Mr. Basketball, told SNY.tv Tuesday nigth. “He said he loves me. I could be his first recruit. He seemed like a good guy.”
In the end, Severe, who averaged 21.6 points per game en route to leading the Royals to the New York State Federation championship, opted to be a big fish in a smaller pond by playing in the A-10.
Arbitello recently said Severe’s “basketball IQ and his unselfishness are what sets him apart from some other guys.”
Arbitello, for one, believes Severe could thrive a la Speedy Claxton at a mid-major program like Fordham.
“Speedy went to Hofstra when they were in the America East,” Arbitello said. “They weren’t even in the Colonial. He had a pretty good NBA career, so if you’re good, they’ll find you.
“Maybe playing right away and having some confidence is better than going to a major, major Division 1 school.”
Longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski says Severe is a natural scorer who is beginning to work more on his defense.
“He’s an undersized two guard who in the past was a spot-up 3-point shooter,” he said. “Now he’s so much better playing off the dribble.”
Konchalski added that at the A-10 level, “He can score well enough where he can get on the floor.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.