Last night, Jarrett Mann and his AAU teammates with the Playaz Basketball Club crushed en route to a 30-point win in their opener at this weekend's Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Chapel Hill (N.C.). With time on his hands this morning before playing again this afternoon, the Middletown (Del.) High School junior guard decided to place a phone call to Trent Johnson.
"Today at about 11 o'clock, I committed to Stanford," Mann reports. "I talked to Coach Johnson and just told him that I'm looking forward to coming there as an '08 commit."
"Coach Johnson was really excited. He was speechless," the recruit continues. "He said, 'This is a really big moment for us.' He was proud and just really happy."
The decision has been somewhat anticipated, with Mann holding the Cardinal as his favorite for several months. His unofficial visit to Stanford in April was followed this month by the news that his admissions application was accepted by the school.
"I don't know what inspired me. It just felt like the right time," he offers. "I had really made up my mind. I was going to do it on June 4, but for whatever reason I just felt like there was no need to wait. I should just get it out of the way."
"I picked them because I think the Pac-10 is the best conference in the country right now," Mann explains of his decision. "I'm comfortable there. They play my type of game where you can speed it up and slow it down at the same time. I think I have a good opportunity to play with my kind of physicality on the West Coast, and I think that's something Stanford can use. Coach G [Donny Guerinoni] and Coach Johnson, I feel really comfortable with them. It was time to make the decision."
As recently as a few weeks ago, it appeared that Mann might stretch his recruitment into the fall and take his official visits. His play during the April evaluation period boosted his stock and drew a bevy of new suitors and attention. One new offer came from Virginia Tech and prompted the Delaware athlete to take a look.
"I took my visit to Virginia Tech, and I liked it. There wasn't anything wrong with it. But they were late-coming," Mann says. "I'm going to go to a school that really likes me. They liked me a lot, too. They were probably number two on my list, but they came a little bit too late. I was thinking about taking a visit to Vanderbilt, but I just wasn't too keen on Vanderbilt."
Though intrigued by newcomers to his recruitment, as well as offers from the likes of Georgetown, St. Joseph's, Penn State and Rutgers, Mann credits the year-old relationship he held with Stanford dating back to last spring.
"I think that was one of the key things for me," he offers. "Their first impression was really good, just how they came on to me. They've been there the whole time."
"Beside that, it's what Stanford can do for me if basketball doesn't work out," Mann adds. "Say I don't make it at the next level, I'm going to have a Stanford degree and possibly go to medical school. That's another key thing. If you have a Stanford degree, you are going to have a good career."
Mann's commitment is a big event in Stanford recruiting. The 6'5" 190-pound athlete can play any of the guard or wing positions. Mann is a standout defender who can pass, rebound and score. He is adept at attacking the rim and can shoot the mid-range jumper and three-pointer. Mann's overall athleticism and complete game are why he has been the Cardinal's number one target for months.
"Coach Johnson has talked about his teams at Nevada and how they ran," the recruit comments. "At Stanford, he wants to recruit the type of athletes where he can go back to that style, but at the same time be under control. That's my thing. In transition, I think I'm really hard to stop. That's what I like to do, and he wants to get back to that. At the same time, I can play in a halfcourt offense."
Jarrett Mann is the first verbal commitment for Stanford in the Class of 2008. The Cardinal signed one player in forward Josh Owens in the Class of 2007 and have three or four scholarships to give this year. Mann has developed a friendship with junior Texas guard Jeremy Green in recent months and has plans on bringing him aboard as the Cardinal's next commit.
"I'm definitely talking to Jeremy," Mann admits. "He said that he really wanted to go to Stanford if I went, so I'm going to be talking to him."
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