Friends' Central basketball star finally nearing a college decision

Posted: February 10, 2012

When the dust finally settles - and that is expected to happen in the next week or so - no one can say that Amile Jefferson made a rash decision.

Three months after most of the country's top recruits signed letters of intent to play at the college of their choice, the Friends' Central dynamo is still mulling his options and waiting for "that gut feeling" to arrive and signal his future home.

"I'm close to ending the process," the 6-foot-8, 205-pound senior forward said Wednesday. "It's about time I buckle down and make a decision.

"It's been tough on me. I go back and forth on it. I want to make sure I make the right decision. Hopefully, it all ends well."

Jefferson, selected Thursday to participate in the McDonald's All-American Game, set for March 28 at Chicago's United Center, said he would choose from among five schools: Duke, North Carolina State, Villanova, Kentucky, and Ohio State.

Temple (Fran Dunphy was a regular at Friends' Central games), Connecticut, Stanford, and Maryland were also in the running, but fell short of making his final list.

"I think he wants to get the season over with before doing anything," said his father, Malcolm Musgrove. And does his son have a soon-to-be-revealed favorite? "If he does, I can't get it out of him," he said with a laugh.

ESPN ranks Jefferson, who lives near 47th and Woodland in University City, as the 18th-best college prospect in the Class of 2012. Scout.com has him No. 21 in its rankings.

His Friends' Central teammates say the five-star recruit has provided nary a hint when it comes to his college destination.

"He likes to keep those things quiet," said Conrad Chambers, a sophomore guard with six Division I scholarship offers. "He's just a regular kid who likes to play basketball. He doesn't like to get into the personal stuff."

Phoenix coach Jason Polykoff, who played at Haverford College, is fine with the star's lengthy deliberation.

"I think he's being smart about things," he said. "He knows this decision is about more than just basketball. He also wants it to be right for him socially and academically. He's looking at the overall picture."

Duke was a late entry in the race to land Jefferson. But the seriousness of the Blue Devils' interest became clear when boss Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Chris Collins, son of 76ers coach Doug Collins, showed up in West Chester on Jan. 10 to see him play.

"I think the in-person visit means a lot," said Musgrove, who added that Krzyzewski and Collins "talked about coming out again if the team's schedule allows it."

Musgrove knows a thing or two about the hoops recruiting game. He shined at West Philadelphia High in the late 1980s and went on play at Delaware State.

"I think it's important for Amile to see how committed a school is when it comes to recruiting him," he said. "I've told him, 'Don't just choose a school you love. Choose a school that you love and that also loves you back.' "

While not a hoops fanatic, Jefferson's mother, Quetta, is likewise involved in the decision-making process.

"I definitely lean on both my mom and dad," he said. "They play a big part in this. They want me to do something positive. It's always great to have a support system."

Late last month, Zagsblog.com, one of countless recruiting websites, reported that "at least one source close to [Jefferson's] recruitment believes it will come down to Duke or N.C. State." The post's headline read, "[Jefferson] is 60/40 Duke over N.C. State."

Said Jefferson: "I never said that. But things like that get out, or somebody twists your words. I'm still considering all five schools that I mentioned."

Musgrove said the report may have come as a result of his casually saying that "North Carolina is a real nice part of the country." He added, "Nine out of 10 times the stuff you read on those sites is not accurate."

Jefferson, watched by Villanova coach Jay Wright on Wednesday at Germantown Friends, promised he soon will put an end to all the speculation.

"It's been fun," he said, "but I'm ready for it all to be over. I'm ready to pick a school and look toward the future."


Friends' Central senior Amile Jefferson talks about the recruiting process.

www.philly.com/rallyvideos


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien

at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or @ozoneinq on Twitter.

Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone

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