Jacobs selects UNCP
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 18, 2011 2:25 PM
PRINCETON -- The sleepless nights are over.
Ben Jacobs finally made his decision.
The Princeton High School basketball standout has inked a national letter-of-intent with UNC Pembroke, which advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional this past March. Jacobs entertained offers from Mount Olive College, Wingate University and the United States Naval Academy before settling on the Braves.
"This has been on my mind since last fall," said Jacobs. "They've got a good team and they're in one of the best Division II conferences in the nation. Coach (Ben) Miller said it's almost like playing (against) low D-I (players) with the talent level in the (Peach Belt) conference."
Jacobs, who has been selected for the school's Honors College, is part of a five-player recruiting class signed by Miller. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder will join Charles B. Aycock's Brandon Winford, Whiteville's Quamain Rose, Charlotte's Griffin Pittman and Jacksonville, Fla.'s Tyler Kordenbrock this fall.
"He's going to be successful no matter where he goes, he's just that type of kid," said Princeton head coach Jeff Davis, a UNCP alum. "I think he's comfortable with his choice. It's rare that you get to coach a player this special as a student and an athlete.
"Ben is a very skilled, fundamentally-sound player with a great feel for the game."
Jacobs led Princeton to a share of its first Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season championship since 1983, and just its third title overall in program history. He averaged a double-double -- 27 points, 14 rebounds -- for the Bulldogs, who were ranked No. 1 in the state during the final month of regular-season play.
The soft-spoken forward, who will graduate as Princeton's salutatorian, earned a spot on the NCPreps.com All-State 1-A squad and played in the prestigious North Carolina-South Carolina All-Star game in Myrtle Beach.
A versatile player who can score from any spot on the court, Jacobs is confident he can fit into Miller's scheme. He's not sure how much playing time he'll earn as a freshman.
"I know I'm going to have to work hard if I want to play because they have a lot of juniors and seniors," said Jacobs, who has a 4.8 grade-point average on a weighted scale. "I really have to work this summer to improve my game. I can score and like offensive rebounding, and my weakest part is probably ball handling and defense.
"I need to work on my quickness."
UNCP emerged victorious in eight of its first 10 contests this past season, and concluded the year with an 18-12 worksheet. The Braves claimed landmark victories over PBC foes Lander, nationally-ranked USC-Aiken and Georgia College.