When high school kids on the Canadian basketball scene are asked about their immediate college goals, nine times out ten the answer will be a basketball scholarship to a major division 1 NCAA school. While its great to strive to be the best player and achieve life-long aspirations, its always smart to step back and ask yourself as a player and student, if you’re putting yourself in the best possible situation to succeed. That is exactly what Jabs Newby (Brampton, ON) did when he found himself at a crossroads playing for Eastern Kentucky University.
After completing his second season with the Colonels, the 6-foot-2 point guard knew there was a decision that needed to be made. Newby decided it was time to re-evaluate his predicament after being unable to receive adequate playing time under a coach that didn’t share the same vision as his players.
“I decided to leave EKU to play on a team that was more up-tempo in terms of style of play and also to earn more playing time,” Newby told NPH.
Once Newby officially left the EKU program, he was able to open up a new chapter in his life and begin a journey that started with finding another institution.
Newby was contacted by, and also made contact with numerous coaches that had previously expressed interest in the services of this athletically gifted floor general. However, it was Gannon University, a division II school in Erie, PA that ultimately won the bidding battle.
NPH asked Newby exactly why he decided to choose Gannon over the other schools that were offering him spots and he told us: “Gannon is close to home, I’m comfortable around the coaching staff and the local fan support and basketball tradition here is great.”
Newby understood it was going to be a big change transferring from Richmond, KY to a more urbanized setting in Erie, but it was a change he was looking forward to. One of the greatest benefits of moving schools was that now his mom would only have to drive two and half hours to see him play instead of the usual 10 hour trek to EKU.
“Coming to Gannon has been beneficial to me and my family because they can watch me play a lot more now. Some of my family members haven’t seen me play in years because I’ve been playing basketball in America since I was in high school.”
On the basketball side of things, Coach John T. Reilly of Gannon assured Jabs immediate playing time, given he would compete at a high level and lead his fellow Golden Knights by example. The combo guard from B-town has already begun to find success at his new program, averaging nearly 30 minutes a game and leading his squad to a solid 10-2 start to the season.
He is happier than ever right now and wants to take his Gannon team as far as possible once the tournament rolls around in March. When comparing his experiences at EKU to the ones at his current school, Newby tells us: “Personally, it was the best decision for me to transfer. At Gannon, I’m getting more playing time, we have great team chemistry, and so far we are having a successful season.”
Playing at a division II school may not sound appealing to kids with D1 aspirations, but people have to understand that it is still a very high level of basketball and its not an option you should rule out. Newby was a former division 1 player and played high school ball with the best of them, he’s a living testament that his division does not lack talent.
“Playing where I’m at now its still very competitive. The competition level in the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) is almost similar to mid-major division 1 basketball. It’s loaded with talent. There are a lot of transfers from good schools like Gonzaga, Cleveland state, Akron, Rhode Island, and many more,” said Newby.
Although his commitment to EKU was not what he expected, Jabs has been able to make change and thrive in his new environment.
Disclosure for all high school prospects reading:
When deciding on what school you’re going to play at, you’re not just making a basketball decision, its a life decision that will affect your quality of living for many years to come. Not choosing the right school can be detrimental to a prospect’s future in their respective sport as well as their education.
Its not always the best decision to commit to a program just because that school has the best basketball reputation of everyone else on the list. Consulting with others, doing research on your own time, and figuring out the best opportunity for you as a student-athlete should all be completed before making any final decisions. And remember, its not always guaranteed that what is told will be what is given. At the end of the day, if you ever do realize you’re not happy with where you’re at, either make change in yourself or change your surroundings.