Tavernari Undecided at 11th Hour

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jonathan Tavernari is not ready to declare himself signed sealed and delivered to BYU. The Brazilian combo guard is mulling over his options including an intriguing last-minute offer from the Big East.

"I have a couple of offers, and BYU is one of my top options," said Jonathan Tavernari. "I haven't decided yet, where I'm going. I'm leaning toward BYU right now because of my relationship with Coach Rose and with the whole coaching staff. I have a couple of offers that I'm still considering. As of right now, as a person, as a basketball player and a member of the LDS Church, I'm leaning toward BYU. I had a late offer from Pittsburgh and I might consider taking a visit there.

Whatever the 6-foot-6 Tavenari decides, coaches and fans will not be held in suspense for long. The native of Sao Paulo, Brazil will make his choice by the beginning of next week.

"I'm going to be deciding my future in the next couple of days," said Tavernari. "I'm going to sign my letter of intent early Monday."

Tavernari has an impressive list of college suitors. He is hearing from schools in the Mountain West, Pac-10, Big XII, ACC, SEC and Big East.

"I hear a lot from UNLV, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M. I have offers from BYU, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and some smaller schools. In the end my top teams are BYU, Virginia Tech, Oregon State and Mississippi State."

It was widely believed that BYU had the inside track on Tavernari because his uncle Walter Roese was on the BYU coaching staff. This is not entirely accurate. Coach Roese is not actually Taverari's uncle.

In Brazilian culture, much like Polynesian culture, close family friends are often called cousins or aunt or uncles. Friends who are the same age may refer to each other as cousins, while friends who are separated by a generation will call each other uncle/nephew or aunt/niece.

During his teenage years, Coach Roese played for Tavernari's mother, who coached Brazil's national under-16 basketball team. After Tavernari was discovered at an Addidas camp, several prep schools from the U.S. offered him a scholarship to play for them. Tavernari's mother did not want him playing for any of those schools because she felt that they were only concerned about his ability as a basketball player, not his education.

Coach Roese promised Tavernari's mother that he would look out for her son socially and academically while allowing basketball to work itself out. The offer was accepted and Tavernari came up to Provo where he played his junior season at Timpview High School. While at Timpview, Tavernari started attending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with several friends. He was baptized into the LDS Church in July of 2005.

Due to restrictions on eligibility of international athletes, Tavernari could only play one season at Timpview. If he wished to continue playing in the U.S. he would have to transfer to a private school. Friends from BYU suggested that Tavernari look into Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After clearing a few administrative hurdles, Tavernari enrolled at the parochial school. Without Tavernari, the Gaels were 3-4; with him, they went 25-1 record. Taverari's only loss was to number one ranked national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy; he scored 21 points in the loss. On the season, Tavernari scored more points (581) than any player in Nevada.

Tavernari is not sure whether he will serve an LDS mission. He turns 19 in June, so he will work through the decision with his family this summer.


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