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Severe practices patience while choosing college

Severe practices patience while choosing college
Photo by Robert Cole
By Joseph Staszewski

Jon Severe ignored the cheers and chants from a special section directly behind the basket at the Barclays Center.

More than a dozen members of his family turned out to watch the Christ the King boys’ basketball star compete in the regional senior all-star game at the Jordan Classic Saturday night. At one point late in game, they began yelling out “Jon” loud enough for the whole area to hear. Severe chuckled with the referee next to him.

“It was funny,” Severe said. “I acted like I didn’t hear them, but I heard them.”

He dropped in 16 points and grabbed five assists to help lead the White Team, made up of New York City stars, to a comeback win over their Black Team and Metro Area counterparts. It was a memorable night for Anna Johnson, Severe’s 67-year-old grandmother, who he has lived with in Bushwick since the eighth-grade.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “I have no words. It’s an unexplainable feeling. He’s worked hard to get where he is right now.”

The accolades, the crowd and the attention, even from his family, don’t drive Severe. He just wants to win. Honors like being named the first New York State Mr. Basketball, given to the state’s top senior, in the Middle Village school’s storied basketball history come with winning.

So does interest from major Division I colleges. Severe is in the process of picking a college to play at next season with just months left in his senior year. He didn’t focus on it during the season as he led CK to the state Federation Class AA title, but has his choices down to West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Duquesne, Fordham and Wake Forest. He plans on picking at Christ the King’s awards night May 22.

“This will be the hardest decision of my life so I want to make the right decision,” Severe said.

The patience is something he picked up from Johnson, who he’s lived with since he moved back from his mother’s in Florida. He’s always done things his way, usually different from the conventional path. So far things, like waiting his turn and choosing not to transfer earlier in his career from CK in search of more playing time, have worked out just fine, just as his grandmother predicted.

“I told him, ‘You know you have one more year. Next year you are going to shine. You are going to be a star,’” Johnson said.

Severe listened then and will again when it comes to picking a college.

“[My family] always tells me to follow my heart,” he said.

It’s been sound advice so far.

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