We thought things got a little crazy two years ago when Davis Nwankwo took an unprecedented early official visit to Stanford the last weekend of February. A new record is being set this weekend for the earliest official visitor in Cardinal Hoops history as Jason Bohannon travels from Marion, Iowa to The Farm. The combo guard is just days into his second semester of his junior year at Linn-Mar High School, but he has been deep into his college recruitment for more than half a year now and is far enough along with his relationship with the Cardinal coaching staff that he is taking such an early official visit.
"I've been looking forward to this visit for a long time," the 6'3" guard describes. "It's going to be fun. Going to California will be a nice change from Iowa, with what the weather is like right now."
With the in-state Hawkeyes offering early and putting a good deal of effort and pressure into the Linn-Mar standout, and with offeree Wisconsin just 2 1/2 hours away, it is an eye-opener to see Bohannon taking such a distant official visit so very early in the recruiting calendar. The earliest that any recruit can officially visit a school is January of his junior year. Why would the Iowan travel across the country in the middle of his high school season?
"I just wanted to show Stanford how high my interest is in them," Bohannon begins. "I want to see a game and the atmosphere out there."
Most official visits start on a Friday and wrap up on a Sunday, but Linn-Mar has a game this Friday night against Dubuque Wahlert. That will put the recruit on a plane Saturday with his dad and younger brother (an 8th grader with more size than his brother at the same age - projects as a small forward). The Bohannons will kick off the official visit weekend with a big game at Maples Pavilion against the Oregon Ducks. Sunday and Monday will focus on learning about campus life and meeting with professors.
One other thing the combo guard standout hopes to learn this weekend is news on his admissions application. Bohannon hoped to have it to Stanford earlier this month, but Marion has had more than its share of snow this winter and a slew of snow days pushed back the end of their first semester a full week. Grades just came in Friday, so today a counselor at Linn-Mar is mailing out the completed application (with transcript) to Stanford. It could be very tight, but the recruit and the Cardinal coaches are hoping that the Admissions Office might be able to turn around with a decision before he heads back to the Hawkeye State.
Bohannon has already taken on unofficial visit to Iowa to see a game in December, and he says he would like to make the drive to Madison this winter to see a game on a Sunday when he can. Those visits would fall short of official visits, but they could ostensibly provide comparables for Bohannon if he were interested in making an early college decision. However, this is one recruit who has said repeatedly to me and other recruiting services that he intends to take all five of his official visits and make a college commitment the fall of his senior year. That could make Cardinalmaniacs™ nervous, given that Stanford is shooting their wad as far as eight months before Bohannon might come to his decision.
"I don't think that's a negative for Stanford," he offers. "It's really hard to say how things will all play out right now. I'm just trying to focus on my season and then really jump into recruiting after that is over."
His top three favorites, all offer schools, have been to his school at least twice this winter to watch him play or practice. Additionally, Bohannon says he expects Illinois and North Carolina State to come see him soon. Coaches have had little reason to be disappointed thus far in watching the junior guard, who has led his Lions to a 10-0 start to the season and #1 ranking in the state. Bohannon and his boys are on pace to repeat as state champions and just recently knocked off #3 Cedar Rapids Jefferson by 11 points. Against Cedar Rapids Xavier this past Friday, Linn-Mar allowed only 16 points in the second half for a 60-45 victory.
"Coach knew that we were more of an offensive team so he has done a good job in making us work on our defense," Bohannon notes. "I've worked a lot on my quickness and feel like it's helped a lot."
On the offensive end, the 6'3" junior is his school's lead guard but is still managing to average 22 points per game to go with six board and four and a half assists.
Stanford has sent both Trent Johnson and Eric Reveno to see Bohannon this season, but the recruit says that all the early efforts and attention have not come with pressure from the Cardinal. Though there are six scholarships to give in this 2006 class for Stanford, and a point guard is an absolute must, the screws have not been put to Bohannon quite yet.
"Coach Johnson said early on that the more schools I see, the more comfortable I would feel with my decision," Bohannon shares. "He has told me to take my time."
With admissions news on the horizon and his first ever visit to Stanford, there will be much to learn soon about the Cardinal's prospects with Jason Bohannon. We will check in with him after he returns to Iowa and bring you his reactions and ruminations.
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