Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Jio Fontan will not return to Fordham next year and is considering a number of other options, including spending the year in Puerto Rico training with its National Team or attending a junior college.
If Fordham continues to deny the 6-foot-1 Fontan a release, he and his family are prepared to go a non-traditional route.
Jorge Fontan, Jio’s father, is in favor of his son spending a year in Puerto Rico training and taking classes. Jio, whose mother is Puerto Rican, will play this summer with the Puerto Rican U19 team.
“Right now if I had to choose and we could work something out, he could take whatever classes he could get credit for [in Puerto Rico] to transfer to a regular college and have a trainer and be working out as much as possible,” Jorge said.
“I would consider that as a worst-case scenario.”
Another option would be to spend the year at a junior college and then move on to a Division 1 school the following year. Nate Miles spent last year at The College of Southern Idaho, a prominent junior college team, after getting kicked out of UConn, and Fontan could do something similar.
“What we are doing at this point is gathering information and getting our arms around the facts,” said Todd Washington, a consultant to the Puerto Rico Basketball Federation who is advising the Fontans.
Jorge is against the junior college option, however.
“The thing with junior college, they’re going to want him to play and I don’t want him to waste a year,” Jorge said.
Washington said the family had been contacted about playing professionally in the Caribbean and Latin America, but added, “There is zero chance that he plays pro anywhere.”
Fordham has refused to allow Jio out of his letter of intent, and for him to attend another school without a scholarship would be prohibitively expensive for his family.
“It’s hard on him right now,” Washington said. “Here is a young man who did everything the right way, yet he is not being rewarded for that. Everyone know that Jio had other schools, more prominent schools, interested in him during his senior year after he gave a verbal to Fordham.
“Jorge and his family have taught him to be a man of his word so he stuck it out even though he knew there were Big East schools interested.”
Now Fontan must go another route if Fordham doesn’t let him go.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.