Getting an Ivy League education was too much for Jordan Bruner to pass up.
On Friday, the Spring Valley senior picked Yale over playing in the basketball-rich Atlantic Coast Conference at Clemson to continue his playing career.
“Academics is something nobody can take from me,” said Bruner, who carries a 4.8 GPA and plans on majoring in economics. “The ball is going to stop bouncing one day. I felt like going to Yale I would have more opportunities to do whatever I wanted with my life after basketball but still do what I wanted with basketball at the same time.”
Bruner’s the second member of his family to play Division I basketball. Bruner’s sister, Ashley, played for the South Carolina women’s program from 2009-13 and is currently playing in Portugal. She watched her brother’s announcement via Skype.
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The 6-foot-9 Bruner’s a three-star prospect and regarded as one of the top players in the state for the Class of 2016. He’s ranked No. 2 in South Carolina by 247Sports and third by ESPN. The small forward averaged 12 points a game as a sophomore but missed most of last season with injuries.
Bruner’s the second high-profile recruit from South Carolina to pick an out-of-state school this week. On Wednesday, Hammond guard Seventh Woods chose North Carolina over South Carolina.
“It doesn’t send a message,” Bruner said. “But it was both of our best fits seemed to be out of state. It wasn’t us leaving the state just to leave.”
Through much of the recruiting process, Bruner thought he would be headed to Clemson, which offered him as a sophomore. He said he took the visit to Yale just to go for a new experience. But after his trip to the New Haven, Conn. campus, Bruner said Yale “won him over” and moved into his two top two schools.
Bruner informed both Yale and Clemson coaches about an hour before his decision. He said Clemson coach Brad Brownell sounded upset with his decision.
“It was tough choice, but I am very proud of him,” Spring Valley coach Perry Dozier said. “Just an opportunity to go a prestigious school like that to do both academics and basketball is a wonderful thing for him.”
Yale is coming off a 22-10 season, its first 20-win campaign since 2001-02. The Bulldogs shared the Ivy League title with Dartmouth but lost in a one-game playoff which decided the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
The Bulldogs have made just three NCAA Tournament appearances, with the last coming in 1962.
“They finish second or third in the Ivy League most times,” Bruner said. “I feel like I can go and give a boost to that program to make them a strong basketball team to deal with.”