Guest, a 6-8, 205-pounder from Charis Prep in Wilson, N.C., was unaware that Tennessee had gotten a Tuesday night commitment from 6-9, 230-pound Yemi Makanjuola (Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh) when he signed scholarship papers with the Rams earlier today. Guest merely decided that waiting for the Vols was no longer in his best interest.
"Jared signed with Virginia Commonwealth early this afternoon," Charis head coach Carlos Peralta told InsideTennessee.com by telephone. "He decided that he needed to go ahead and sign with them."
Guest had a keen interest in Tennessee, once listing the Vols among his top four along with VCU, Maryland and Georgia. The Vols essentially put him on hold, however, while waiting to see if 6-8 Tobias Harris would return for his sophomore season on The Hill or opt for the NBA Draft. When Harris decided on the pros last Friday, Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin had a decision of its own: Makanjuola or Guest?
"The Tennessee coaches have been very honest," Peralta said. "I've known Coach Martin for a long time and I have nothing but the highest regard for him. I think they're just trying to piece some things together. What they're telling me is that they wanted a wider-body, back-to-the-basket guy, rather than someone built like Jared. But Jared is so good they they were temped to go against what they need because he's a better player."
Knowing that Guest wasn't the type of space-eater Tennessee was looking for, Peralta nudged his player to look elsewhere.
"In my role advising him, I told him there's pros and cons to every decision you make in life," Peralta said. "You're going to have some down moments in life where the coaches are mad at you. If you were their top choice, it's a lot easier to smooth over those rough moments rather than have them thinking, 'I knew we should've taken that other guy.'"
Virginia Commonwealth, which made the NCAA Tournament's Final Four earlier this year, won Guest's signature by showing more interest in him than Tennessee did.
"There was a lot of uncertainty on the part of several programs that were kind of waiting to see who was in and out of the draft," Peralta said. "It was time to get rid of the 'buts' and Virginia Commonwealth had been there from the beginning. They demonstrated that they really want him, so he went ahead and signed with them."